Daily Archives: October 2, 2006

Greiner replies to posting: “How RFID Affects Religious Beliefs”

Greiner replies to posting: “How RFID Affects Religious Beliefs”

Ms. Schaut:

I feel obligated to respond to your Sept. 15 posting about Indiana’s premise identification program, because some of the information is incorrect. I’m sure you do not want to misinform your web-viewers, so I thought I’d pass along some accurate information.

First, while the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is a three-phase program, Indiana has passed a legal requirement only for Phase 1, or premise identification. Phases Two and Three (animal ID and animal tracking) are not part of Indiana’s law, nor are they required. Animal owners may choose to participate in those programs if they wish. This includes any requirement for RFID chips.

Second, RFID is not the only option for producers to tag their animals. Those who are concerned about issues related to the use of electronic interfaces have alternatives from which to choose to accommodate their needs and beliefs.

Third, this is not the first state or federal program that involves tagging of animals. Many Amish producers-as well as others-have tagged their swine for pseudorabies, cattle for brucellosis and sheep for scrapie for decades. NAIS has been introduced in an era of more technology options, which has shifted some of the discussion to electronic tagging and tracking. But, again, this is still a voluntary part of the program.

Fourth, the $1000 per day penalty rumor is still floating around. The document from which you pulled that quote is intended to counter rumors with the facts. The fact is: September 1 has come and gone, and BOAH has not started any action to fine anyone for noncompliance. Instead, our staff is working diligently to help producers register in the program and do what is best for Indiana agriculture.

Fifth, to assert or imply, even via a third-party quote, that “it’s just a matter of time before they put them in people” is irresponsible. We’ve heard from many members of the Amish community who are very sensitive to this issue. People are not part of this program. BOAH has no such authority-nor do we seek it. We need to keep information about this program focused on what is important and what it really stands for: BOAH is working to modernize a century-old system of tracing animals in an animal disease situation. PremiseID provides us a 911-like system for our livestock operations to help us, as the agency responsible for animal health in this state, to respond quickly and efficiently. Only when we can do that will we be able to preserve Hoosiers’ investment in animal agriculture.

If you have questions about this program or any of its finer points, I’m happy to answer them.


Jennifer L. Greiner, DVM

ID Programs Director

Indiana State Board of Animal Health

Senate foes differ subtly on approach to farm bill

Senate foes differ subtly on approach to farm bill

Both say safety net has holes in it


The Billings Gazette

Montana’s largest natural resource industry is agriculture, which is inextricably tied to the nation’s farm policy blueprint written every five years.

What is written into the 2007 Farm Bill – if it is written at all – is crucial to every farmer and rancher in the state, if for no other reason than they and their bankers will know what to plan for through 2012.

But because the Doha round of trade negotiations collapsed, with virtually no chance of resurrection, some believe that Congress should extend current law for a year or two until the international trade community agrees on agricultural policies that lead to a new World Trade Organization treaty.


Argentina to ease beef rules again

Argentina to ease beef rules again

Bloomberg News / Houston Chronicle

Argentina will loosen restrictions on its beef exports for a third time this year, allowing cattle ranchers to recover losses after the government announced a complete ban aimed at boosting domestic supplies and cutting prices.

The country’s cattle ranchers will be allowed to ship overseas as much as 50 percent of the amount exported between June and November last year, up from 40 percent, the Economy Ministry said Friday.


Drought sends record numbers of cattle to fatten in feedlots

Drought sends record numbers of cattle to fatten in feedlots


Associated Press / Wichita Eagle

WICHITA, Kan. – Lingering drought across the plains states has driven millions of head of cattle to feedlots amid withering pastures and high feed costs.

The Agriculture Department’s recently released September cattle-on-feed report, which tracks the number of cattle and calves, showed 11 million head were in feedlots nationwide on Sept. 1.

The inventory – up 10 percent from the same month last year – was the largest in the decade that the government has been keeping such records.

Many of those cattle are ending up in Kansas feedyards, the nation’s second largest cattle feeding state behind Texas. Nearly 24 percent of the nation’s cattle are shipped each year to the state’s vast feedyards for fattening before they are slaughtered.

Some of them are going to Coake Feeders in Dodge City. Owner Richard Koenke said the cattle started coming out of the Flint Hills early in July and August as ponds dried up and grass disappeared. The cattle he’s getting at his feedyard are coming in about 100 pounds lighter than normal due to drought.


Fall farm tour features agri-entertainment

Fall farm tour features agri-entertainment

By Cindy Eisen

Editor, Times Community Newspapers of Greater Dayton (OH)

Fall is here and so began the first-ever Warren County Farm Bureau farm tour.

The tour consisted of five area farms that were open to the public for a self-driving tour on September 9. In order to feature the substantial rural part of Warren County, a highlight that attracted many residents to the Springboro area, the edge of the country, one farm on the tour will be featured in the Springboro Sun each week.

The first farm is the Schappacher’s Farm located at 3829 South Ohio 42 in Lebanon. This farm is a stop on the Lebanon Railway and specializes in agri-entertainment.

A country store offers all sorts of fresh produce hand-picked from land farmed by the family. The family farms 65 acres at the barn sight, and 200 to 300 more acres on the other side of Mason along Ohio 741. The family used to farm 1,000 acres, but with islands being placed on the roads in Mason, making it difficult to navigate with farm machinery, and expenses, the family has narrowed its farming scope and moved to agri-entertainment, a term used to explain the use of a farm as a public tourist spot with seasonal events.


Where’s The Beef?

Where’s The Beef?


The United States is the world’s largest beef producer. Nearly 96 million head of cattle can be found within our borders – about one animal for every three Americans. Nine million head are dairy cows, ensuring that we can all answer affirmatively to the query “Got milk?” The rest are either breeding stock (including replacements for aging dairy cows) or being raised for meat production. About 32 million cattle are slaughtered each year, and 27 million of these are relatively young animals (18 months old or less) coming from feedlots, farms, and ranches.


Producer’s work, European breed yield success

Producer’s work, European breed yield success

G.B. Crawford Assistant Editor

Florida Agriculture

A decade ago George Fisher was delivering packages for United Parcel

Service. Today, he is the owner of a profitable agricultural business

that will likely sustain him and his family for many years.

This impressive accomplishment has been no accident. Shrewd assessment

of market conditions, a relentless pursuit of excellence and a passion

for his calling as a farm producer have helped him build a stable


Fisher’s father, also named George, maintained a small farm in

Washington County all of his working life. But by the mid-1990s his

health began to fail.


Good plan to boost inspections of huge feedlots

Good plan to boost inspections of huge feedlots

The Herald Bulletin

In a timely move, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management announced Wednesday that it plans to inspect CAFOs — confined animal feeding operations — twice in their first year of operations.

The IDEM initiative will send inspectors to check new facilities within six months of their construction and return during the following six months.

Previously, inspectors visited when construction started on the livestock facilities, but future visits were not required within set times.

Inspectors try to get to 20 percent of the CAFOs each year, meaning routine inspections for a specific farm come around once every five years. IDEM does send out inspectors if it receives complaints or if there is a spill at the facility, said IDEM spokeswoman Amy Hartsock.


SDSU Beef Bowl set for Oct. 7

SDSU Beef Bowl set for Oct. 7

Rapid City Journal (SD)

BROOKINGS — The 40th Annual Beef Bowl is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 7, at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium on the South Dakota State University campus in Brookings.

The Jacks will play Central Arkansas in the football game, which begins at 7 p.m.

Before the game, the Department of Animal and Range Sciences from SDSU will host a barbecue from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Barbecue tickets cost $6 and will be available at the barbecue. Proceeds are used to support undergraduate department scholarships.

The Beef Bowl was initiated to promote the beef industry and recognize the cattle producers of South Dakota, according to SDSU Extension beef specialist Cody Wright.


Cattle Producers Look For Feeding Options

Cattle Producers Look For Feeding Options

by: Linda Breazeale

MSU Ag Communications


Mississippi State — The summerlong drought has drastically reduced hay yields and quality, forcing many livestock producers to look for alternative forages and supplemental feeds and consider downsizing their herds.

John Anderson, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, said the expanse of this drought, which is worse in the major cattle producing states of Texas and Oklahoma, will impact the cattle market and the previous national herd expansion.

“Many producers will have a hard time maintaining the herds they have, much less expanding,” Anderson said. “In the long term, a reduction in beef cattle numbers will help market prices, but in the short term, the forced sales of more cattle will hurt, especially at the local market levels.”

The drought will affect supply and demand for stocker and feeder calves this fall. Rains will be essential if key cattle-producing areas are to have any chance of providing winter grazing.

Charles Wax, state climatologist and MSU professor of geosciences, said there is no reason to anticipate a break in the drought since the state is in the driest months of the year: August, September and October. Although the 2006 drought and heat are not among the state’s worst summers, the extreme conditions were compounded by how early they hit.


Johne’s Disease, Not just for Milk Cows Anymore

Johne’s Disease, Not just for Milk Cows Anymore

by Dave Sparks, DVM

For many years Johne’s (pronounced “YO-NEES”) Disease has been recognized as a significant problem in dairies throughout the Midwest, across the United States, and around the world. Over the last decade scientists and veterinarians in Oklahoma have become increasingly aware of this problem as an emerging disease in beef cows. Most beef producers have either never heard of it or may be familiar with the name only. Is it a significant problem? Consider that there is no treatment, it is almost impossible to eradicate, the number of infected herds is growing, and it can spread in your herd for years before showing up as a clinical disease.

Nobody seems to know the incidence rate of Johne’s in Oklahoma beef herds, but the diagnostic lab at Stillwater reports that it is not uncommon. It has been more prevalent in dairies because of more intensive management and more animals on fewer acres. Many of today’s more intensive grazing programs such as rotational grazing, and the extensive use of cultivated grass pastures such as Bermuda and fescue that incorporate higher stocking densities may be contributing to the increasing occurrence of the disease. Seed-stock operations where calves are raised in more closely managed, confined situations are certainly at risk. Cattle operations (such as stockers and feedlots) may not see signs of the disease, even though some of the cattle were infected as babies. If however, the infected stocker heifer is kept as a replacement, she may have clinical signs of Johne’s disease when she reaches adulthood.

The causative agent, Mycobacterium paratuberculosis, almost always enters your herd when you unknowingly purchase a carrier animal. Animals are infected early in life by eating or drinking fecal contamination, nursing dirty udders, or getting the organism by shedding from their mother in the milk and especially in the colostrum. The disease has a long incubation period and the organism is not usually found until at least 1 ½ to 2 years of age. Even then it usually lies dormant in the cows system for years while she appears normal but is infecting her calves and serving as a low level carrier for other susceptible animals in the herd. The infection may never cause clinical disease or it may at some point in the animal’s adult life wake up and cause a clinical problem. Clinically the disease is manifested as a steadily worsening diarrhea and chronic weight loss that eventually becomes debilitating emaciation. There is no treatment and all of the clinically sick animals eventually die from loss of fluids and electrolytes from the intestinal tract. These sick animals are super carriers, shedding large numbers of bacteria into the environment to introduce infections that may not show up for years in other animals.

Many times Johne’s Disease is diagnosed at the slaughter house when meat inspectors see the lesions in the gut and stain microscopic sections to find the organisms. Tests for living animals include a test performed on blood serum and culture of the feces to find the organism. The serum test is not perfect, but it is relatively quick and easy and makes a good screening test. Fecal culture takes longer and costs more but is definitive for confirming the disease. Because the disease takes so long to develop, the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory doesn’t recommend testing animals under 1 ½ years of age.

Johne’s Disease is a serious concern for cow calf operators. Producers who are purchasing replacements need to know that they are not buying the problem. Likewise, producers offering bulls and replacement heifers need to be able to assure prospective buyers that they are free of the problem. To this end, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry has started a voluntary Oklahoma Johne’s Disease Surveillance and Education program. This is a strictly voluntary program, but for producers willing to work with their veterinarian to ensure they have clean herds, they will subsidize the costs of evaluation and laboratory testing. To learn more about this program contact your local veterinarian who in turn can contact the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry, Animal Industry Divison.

Effect of Hay Feeding Methods on Hay Wastage

Effect of Hay Feeding Methods on Hay Wastage

By Glenn Selk, (Adapted from Buskirk, et al. 2003)

With forage supplies so limited, cow calf producers want to be certain that as they feed the hay this fall and winter that wastage is minimized. Therefore the research recently conducted at Michigan State University is more relevant than ever. Michigan State University animal scientists studied four hay feeder design types: cone, ring, trailer or cradle. All feeder types allowed approximately 14.5 inches for each animal. Dry matter hay waste was 3.5%, 6.1%, 11.4% and 14.6% for the cone, ring, trailer and cradle feeders, respectively. In other words, there was about one-fourth as much hay wasted from the cone feeder as there was from the cradle feeder. Also the traditional ring feeder resulted in less than half as much hay wastage as was found from the cradle feeder.

There were differences in the behavior of cows at the feeders that may be involved with the differences in wastage. Cows eating from the cradle feeder had about 3 times as much butting and displacement behavior as other feeder types and four times as many entrances compared to cows feeding at the other type of feeders. The researchers determined that slanted bar designs encourage animals to keep their head in the feeder for longer periods while eating. You can see photos of the hay feeders and read the entire article by going to the website listed here. http://www.msu.edu/~buskirk/Publications/JAS%2081-109.pdf Source: Buskirk, et al. 2003.

IGENITY: Meeting Consumer Demands

IGENITY: Meeting Consumer Demands


DNA profiling allows for a faster response to consumer demands

The beef industry realized in the late 1990s that consumers must be satisfied for the industry to thrive. Industry efforts that included research, product development and targeted marketing proved successful as consumption of beef increased after nearly 20 years of decline. However, today’s consumers are educated, outspoken and asking for flavorful and tender beef. And other protein sources are plentiful. According to experts, the industry must flex to meet these consumer demands and invest in tools to make long-term changes quickly to keep up.

Consumers have said for years that they want a more consistent and higher-quality eating experience from beef. Dr. Michael Dikeman, a professor and meat scientist from Kansas State University, says the issue of eating quality must first be addressed from a tenderness standpoint.

“A consumer’s eating experience is based on flavor, tenderness and juiciness. However, tenderness is the first and most important hurdle we must overcome. If the product is not acceptable in terms of tenderness, the consumer will be dissatisfied,” Dr. Dikeman says.