Daily Archives: March 17, 2006



WASHINGTON, March 15, 2006- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced that the second of two bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) confirmatory tests conducted on an Alabama cow has returned a positive result.
Earlier this week, USDA announced that an Alabama cow was positive for BSE after receiving the results of a Western blot confirmatory test. APHIS’ National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, which conducted a second confirmatory test, the immunohistochemistry (IHC), received positive results today. Under APHIS protocols, if either the IHC or the Western blot returns a positive result the animal is considered positive for BSE.
APHIS is currently conducting an epidemiological investigation into the animal’s origin in order to attempt to trace the animal to its place of birth. It had been on the Alabama farm less than a year. One of the first steps in this investigation will be the recovery of the carcass for examination to allow APHIS investigators to directly examine the breed and age of the animal as well as check the animal for any form of identification such as ear-tags. The recovery will be completed within the next day.
The cow, initially reported to be a Santa Gertrudis, is now believed to be a red crossbred (possibly crossed with a Santa Gertrudis or similar breed). This animal was non-ambulatory on the farm and examined by a local, private veterinarian. The veterinarian returned to the farm the following day, euthanized the animal and collected a sample, which was submitted for testing. The animal was buried on the farm at that time.
This animal did not enter the animal or human food chain, in accordance with USDA protocols. Human and animal health in the United States is protected by a system of interlocking safeguards, which ensure the safety of U.S. beef. The most important of these safeguards is the ban on specified risk materials from the food supply and the Food and Drug Administration’s ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban.
As part of USDA’s BSE enhanced surveillance program, more than 650,000 samples have been tested since June 2004. Throughout this effort, APHIS has noted the likelihood of finding additional cases of BSE. To date, only two of these highest risk animals has tested positive for the disease as part of the surveillance program, for a total of three cases of BSE in the United States. The enhanced surveillance program was designed as a one-time, intensive effort to provide a snap shot of the U.S. cattle population, in order to determine the prevalence of BSE in this country. This second case does not change the fact that BSE prevalence in the United States remains extremely low.
APHIS will continue to work closely with the state of Alabama to learn more about this animal’s history, and the results of our epidemiological investigation will be shared with the public. All animals of interest will be tested for BSE.

Officials exhume infected cow, place age at 10 years

Officials exhume infected cow, place age at 10 years

AP Food and Farm Writer
Grand Island Independent

WASHINGTON — After exhuming the Alabama cow with mad cow disease, the government has concluded she was at least 10 years old and could have been infected before steps were taken to safeguard cattle feed, the Agriculture Department said Thursday.


Manage to win with good decision making

Manage to win with good decision making

Thursday, March 16, 2006 4:03 PM CST
Minnesota Farm Guide

If you care about your reputation as a calf supplier, you have to care about how they work for the next segment or link in the beef chain. Genetics can make a big difference in feedlot and carcass value potential, but management and environment can be up to five times more important.


McLaughlin scientists find better way to study prions

McLaughlin scientists find better way to study prions
Posted on March 16
By the Associated Press / missoulian.com

GREAT FALLS – Scientists at McLaughlin Research Center have discovered a new way to study prions, the infectious agents that cause brain-wasting diseases, and hope the work could lead to a better understanding of who is more at risk to contract such diseases.


Investigators Tracing Infected Cow’s Offspring, Herd

Investigators Tracing Infected Cow’s Offspring, Herd

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Feds Focus on DNA in Mad Cow Case

WASHINGTON — After exhuming the Alabama cow with mad cow disease, the government has concluded she was at least 10 years old and could have been infected before steps were taken to safeguard cattle feed, the Agriculture Department said Thursday.


Doing homework is key before buying bulls

Doing homework is key before buying bulls

By DONNA FARRIS, For The Prairie Star
Thursday, March 16, 2006 8:40 AM MST

At the same time when bull sales are at their height for the year with a huge number of animals to select from, cattle producers are making a crucial decision in the management of their operation as they choose which bulls to purchase.

“It’s a very key decision to the whole ranch management system,” said Daryl Strohbehn, beef cow/calf specialist for Iowa State University Extension and the Iowa Beef Center.


GeneThera Selects Tecan Platform as Standard for Mad Cow Testing Using Live Animal Test Assay

GeneThera Selects Tecan Platform as Standard for Mad Cow Testing Using Live Animal Test Assay

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–March 16, 2006–GeneThera, Inc. (OTCBB: GTHA) today announced that the Company has chosen the Tecan Freedom EVO (TM) system for installation in each testing facility the Company opens in the future as well as in its Wheat Ridge, Colo., lab to aid in its test process for Mad Cow Disease as well as other veterinary diseases.

“The Tecan product is a superior system that will allow GeneThera to streamline our live animal blood testing and allow us to automatically run our tests with 100% accuracy,” said Dr. Tony Milici, CEO. “We have standardized on the Freedom EVO(R) system which will allow for each lab to come on-line much sooner without the delay of training personnel on new products and procedures. All training will be done in our Wheat Ridge facility prior to sending each new system to our international labs.”


Dust problems gone with the wind

Dust problems gone with the wind

Texas feedlot controls dust with high tech watering system

By Lindsay West, High Plains Journal

Anyone who lives on the South Plains of Texas knows that wind and dust just come with the territory. A red, hazy sky is a common scene during dry and gusty conditions at anytime of the year. While many have learned to ignore the dust, feedlot operators in West Texas have found a way to control it.


Have you herd?

Have you herd?

StarTribune.com / Minneapolis Star Tribune
Last update: March 15, 2006 – 12:26 PM

Grass-fed beef is a lean, tasty alternative to traditionally raised beef. Todd Churchill is at the front of the growing trend with his Thousand Hills Cattle Co., and more than a dozen farms are following suit.

By Rick Nelson • rdnelson@startribune.com

Ask Todd Churchill for the key to his growing business, and he will answer in a single word: grass. “It’s the key to everything we do,” he said. “Growing grass is a lost art.” Churchill isn’t in the sod industry. He’s the owner of Thousand Hills Cattle Co., an upstart producer of premium quality grass-fed beef. The premise is disarmingly simple: Create a breeding and feeding framework that produces premium beef, then apply that model to a network of family farms. It’s a wonderful win-win-win proposition: Consumers get top-quality beef. Farmers, squeezed by the commodity market, pull in top dollar. And the environment recuperates from the perils of modern agriculture.