Animal Agriculture Education – It Works

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

one-alltech-16-440-editedThe control, prevention and eradication of diseases like salmonella, PRRS, E. coli and camppylobacter are all key factors to profitable production. Lance Barton, director of wean to finish and genetic services, Belstra Milling Co. spoke to attendees during a special session at ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference sharing his work with Fair Oaks Farms and how their Pig Adventure focuses on education, training and openness to new ideas.

“We are hoping to be ambassadors the the 99% of the population that don’t know about animal agriculture. We want to show them the evolution of the industry. We want to show how it is good for the animal and for people.”

Lance said of the people who visit Fair Oaks Farms, 98% walk away with positive impressions. The farm focuses on transparency and Lance can’t think of any topic relating to pigs that isn’t discussed with visitors. The topic of farrowing crates creates open dialogue and the public walks aways understanding their purpose.

Agriculture education is important because it works. Research proves that Fair Oaks Farms is impacting people and they are walking away with a better understanding of the entire production process. The farm implements the highest animal welfare standards and truly practices what they preach.

Listen to my complete interview with Lance to learn more about the operation and their plans for the future. Interview with Lance Barton, Belsta Milling Co.

View and download photos from the event here: 2016 ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference Photo Album

Agribusiness, Alltech, Animal Health, Animal Welfare, Audio, Disease, Education, Pig, Swine

Breeders Roundtable on Poultry Genetics

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

USPOULTRY_BlueGeneticists from poultry breeder companies, researchers and graduate students attended the 65th National Breeders Roundtable in St. Louis, Mo., sponsored by the Poultry Breeders of America and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association. Opportunities for poultry research and techniques that may be included in breeding programs were discussed during the event.

Dr. Julie Long, research physiologist for USDA, updated the group on efforts to formalize cryopreservation techniques for turkeys. Along the lines of preservation, Dr. Alison Martin, executive director at The Livestock Conservancy, explained the Conservancy’s position on helping preserve and maintain rare breeds of all species, but focused on specific efforts and challenges with chickens.

Brad Lillie, financial officer for MacFarlane Pheasants, provided a presentation on the breeding program for meat pheasants and hunting stock – a welcomed view into the unique pheasant industry. A review of the available literature for stocking densities and effect on performance for turkeys was given by Dr. Marisa Erasmus, assistant professor of animal sciences for Purdue University, outlining the need for further research in this area; while a comprehensive field study reviewing the incidence of footpad dermatitis in turkeys by Dr. Jesse Grimes, poultry extension specialist for North Carolina State University, showed the effect of management on this health trait. Additionally, the effect of lighting programs on overall performance for broilers and turkeys was outlined and contrasted by Dr. Karen Schwean-Lardner, assistant professor for the University of Saskatchewan; and Dr. John Hickey, quantitative geneticist at The Roslin Institute, spoke about “Genomic Selection 2.0,” or the use of sequence data in estimating genomic breeding values.

The Roundtable hosted a Student Research Poster competition during the evening reception. Eight excellent posters were on display, and the top three winners were announced at the meeting with each receiving a cash prize.

First place was awarded to Katy Tarrant, University of Arkansas, for her poster on “Predicting Ascites incidence in altitude-challenged broilers using single nucleotide polymorphisms.” Second place went to Sara Orlowski, University of Arkansas, for her poster on “Histological analysis of the pectoralis major muscle in broiler lines divergently selected for percentage four-day breast yield,” and third place went to Kaylee Rowland, Iowa State University, for her poster on “Genetic parameter estimation and genome wide association study for NDV response in chickens.”

Ag Group, Genetics, Poultry, US Poultry

USMEF Board Meeting Stresses Value of Exports

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

Fordyce-usmef-16 The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Board of Directors Meeting and Product Showcase kicked off last Wednesday in St. Louis, Missouri. Richard Fordyce, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, welcomed attendees to the event with a discussion of the important role exports have played in making agriculture Missouri’s largest industry. Fordyce also outlined several initiatives that have recently been designed to promote agricultural development in the state, including programs designed to attract and retain young farmers and ranchers.

“If agriculture is going to maintain that No. 1 ranking in Missouri, we’re going to have to grow that new crop of leaders,” Fordyce said. “We need to work with young people to continue to ignite the passion they have for agriculture, continue to cultivate that interest, and move them forward in their agricultural careers.”

Jonathan Cordone, USDA deputy under secretary for farm and foreign agricultural services provided a keynote address, noting that USDA currently has 93 international offices covering more than 170 countries on behalf of U.S. agriculture. The importance of market access for U.S. products was also discussed, as well as the acknowledgement that trade agreements are only as valuable as the United States’ ability to enforce them.

“We have an excellent record of ensuring that countries cut their tariffs as they promise to do in our trade agreements, and historically this has been the primary force driving our increased exports to FTA partners,” Cordone explained. “But that’s not the whole story. There are non-tariff barriers that unjustly restrict our access in some markets, and USMEF and its members know better than most that other countries are increasingly deploying non-tariff barriers as their protectionist tool of choice.”

Jesus Madrazo, Monsanto’s vice president for corporate engagement, also spoke, and discussed ways in which Monsanto is collaborating with industry partners to meet growing global food demand while promoting environmental stewardship and addressing concerns such as climate change, water usage and scarcity of agricultural land.

The opening general session of the event was addressed by USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng, who provided his thoughts on global market conditions and stressed the importance of exports in advancing growth and profitability in the U.S. meat industry.

“Trade is being discussed, and being cussed, like never before,” Seng said. “But in my view, trade is really in our DNA.”

Ag Group, Events, Export, Export, Imports, International, Markets, Trade, USMEF

American Wool Gets New Look

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

awc-american-wool-council-logo-052716The American Wool Council, a division of the American Sheep Industry Association, has adopted a new look that brings the industry’s image up to par with the products being created everyday with this innovative, sustainable fiber.

The new logo was developed after consultation with the Sterling-Rice Group of Boulder, Colo. and depicts how American wool is vigorous enough to support the U.S. military on the frontlines of battle, yet elegant enough to grace red carpets and magazine covers.

“It’s vital for the wool industry that consumers recognize the value of American wool,” said ASI Director of Wool Marketing Rita Kourlis Samuelson. “When you look at wool and its values, you come back to a natural, premium product that performs at a high level in a variety of circumstances. It can be sophisticated and beautiful, but it can also be innovative and dynamic. American wool is known for its unparalleled loft and versatility. The benefits of wool simply can’t be matched by any other natural fiber.”

The American wool logo will be featured on product tags, as well as in advertising to the international wool trade community. The logo will also appear in promotions for wool consumers. The American Wool Council will offer two logos, one for products made in America and one for products made elsewhere using American wool. Soon to come is a new consumer-oriented website at

“The American spirit is alive in the fiber, fleece and fabric of natural American Wool,” states an international advertisement featuring the new logo. “This is where happy, healthy sheep are raised to thrive in vast, open ranchlands. It’s where bold shepherds and ranchers are genuine stewards of the earth – constantly seeking sustainable ways to ensure the future of this invaluable industry. This is America, where innovation is celebrated, tradition is respected and high performance reigns.”

Ag Group, ASI, Sheep, Wool

The One Health Approach

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

one-16-fink Several international experts in animal health and nutrition were present at ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference, where their expert testimony on the solutions to the wide array of challenges facing animal production could be heard by a global audience. Prof. Johanna Fink-Gremmels, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and expert in Veterinary Toxicology who works with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) traveled to the conference from the Netherlands in order to speak to audiences on the future of animal health, which she believes must begin to become more holistic.

“When we have previously talked about the food chain, we have always been talking about food security and food safety, but as we are being confronted with antimicrobial resistance as one of the biggest global challenges facing our world, we have to find additional means and tools to analyze it and to stop it,” said Dr. Fink-Gremmels during an interview at the conference. “And in the frame of these activities, we are beginning to look into the food chain and having a one health approach, where we focus on caring for people, as well as having another view of animal production and a focus on the environment.”

Dr. Fink-Gremmels discussed this one health approach in her special session during the conference, titled “A Holistic View of the Food Chain.” She discussed the future role of veterinarians in finding solutions to problems like antibiotic resistance, and that many of these solutions may easily be found within our soil.

“I’m talking this week about the link between animal production, antimicrobial resistance, and people, which is the environment, and my message lies behind using the soil to help take care of all of these things, so we don’t only have healthy people and animals, but happy people and animals,” she said.

Listen to Lizzy’s full interview with Dr. Fink-Gremmels here
Interview with Dr. Johanna Fink-Gremmels, EFSA

View and download photos from the event here:2016 ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference Photo Album

Ag Group, Alltech, Alltech Global Dairy/Beef, Animal Health, Antibiotics, Audio, Veterinary

June Spotlights Turkey & National Turkey Lovers’ Day

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

PrintMemorial Day weekend previews grilling season and rekindles America’s love of turkey says the National Turkey Federation. The 1st Annual National Turkey Lovers’ Day will take place Sunday, June 19th, during June is Turkey Lovers’ Month®.

Grilling is easy, convenient and perfect for a weekday meal solution. Turkey – long known as a healthy lean protein – is also a delicious and sometimes overlooked star of the grill. With Fathers’ Day on Sunday the 19th, the family can gift dad a “grill meal” kit with the tools, seasoning ingredients and choice of turkey meat tenderloin, turkey drumstick or ground turkey and turkey franks to showcase his skill at the grill.

Whether dad prefers his time as outdoor chef spent in quiet relaxation or sharing his time-honored grilling techniques with the family, the Turkey Grilling Tip sheet at renews a familiarity for best grilling the many choice cuts of turkey. Look under the Resources tab to download quick tips on grilling, cooking and lean meat comparisons among turkey portions. A choice offering of grilling recipes is featured with photos, and commentary from chefs and registered dietitians.

Consumers’ enjoyment of turkey has increased to an average of 16 pounds per person, according to USDA. Daily supply of turkey meat continues plentiful after recovery one year ago from losses of three percent of the turkey population from avian influenza. USDA projects this year’s total production about 6 percent higher than 2015 (USDA Economic Research Service Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook of May 16, 2016).

Ag Group, Food, National Turkey Federation, Turkey

Digitizing Animal Agriculture

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

one-alltech-16-464-editedEmerging technologies are knocking on the doorsteps of agriculture daily. One of these is facial recognition, not necessarily new when used with humans, but a cutting-edge concept in animal agriculture. David Hunt, co-founder of Cainthus, a company dedicated to digitizing ag practices, spoke to attendees of ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference about ways we can all take advantage of new developments in digitalization, automation and the cloud.

“As far as I know, we are the only company in the world that is able to tell the difference between one cow and another simply from how it looks and how it moves. Once you can tell one cow from the herd, you are able to track, monitor and build analytics based on it’s behavior. Hopefully, this will enable farmers to farm more profitability.”

This technology has only recently been economically viable in agriculture because imaging sensors have become cheap, along with data storage and transfer. David said one of the biggest cost-savors to the producers is lameness detection. Since facial recognition allows for 24/7 monitoring, the moment an animal shows signs of lameness it is spotted. Feed efficiency and general behavioral analytics are two other examples of data being collected.

There is no doubt we are living in a digitized world. David believes 20 to 30 years from now we will be talking about this era as the digitalization revolution, similar to industrial and agricultural revolutions in the past. He said he would advice any farmer to implement any technology today that is affordable on a $1/acre or $1/head that gives you digital data capture on your farming operation.

Learn more about facial recognition and the digitalization of agriculture in my complete interview iwth David: Interview with David Hunt, Cainthus

View and download photos from the event here: 2016 ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference Photo Album

Agribusiness, Alltech, Animal Health, Animal Welfare, Audio, Technology

Americans Prefer Hot Dogs On The Grill

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

hot dogNew research commissioned by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC) suggests that Americans prefer their dogs straight off the grill. Of the 90% of Americans who say they prepare hot dogs, 63% say grilling is their favorite way to cook a hot dog. Other cooking methods included steaming (12%), microwaving (9%) or frying in a pan (8%).

NHDSC estimates that Americans will consume more than seven billion hot dogs between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day. That is a lot of hot dogs. Since today is Memorial Day. The count has begun and I am sure many of us have already added to that number.

“Hot dogs are the staple of an American summer,” said NHDSC President Eric Mittenthal. “The smell of a hot dog cooking on the grill awakens us from the soggy spring doldrums and arouses joyful memories, as well as a growling stomach.”

The research was conducted online in May 2016 among more than 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older by Harris Poll for the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC).

While Americans are most likely to grill a hot dog, the research also finds that many people prefer to enjoy it inside their home with 34 percent of hot dog eaters saying that’s their favorite place to eat a hot dog, Twenty-two percent prefer eating hot dogs in their backyard, while 19 percent most enjoy their hot dogs while tailgating or inside a sporting event. Thirteen percent of hot dog eaters say they are best enjoyed at a picnic.

“Home is where the heart is, so it’s no surprise that Americans are primarily enjoying hot dogs at home,” said Mittenthal. “No matter where they eat one, we know it is with a smile on their face.”

Ag Group, Food, Holiday

China: An Incredible Opportunity

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

one-alltech-16-275The industry of agriculture has an international consumer base, and so many agribusiness professionals are looking into the international opportunities available within their sector and their business. Ian Lahiffe, New Business Development Director for Alltech China hosted several special sessions during ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference, to discuss the opportunities that exist within the country of China, especially for the beef industry.

China’s consumption of beef is increasing at an incredible rate compared to the stagnant rate of beef consumption currently seen in America and Europe, yet 0.5 percent of the beef consumed in China is produced domestically. The U.S. does not currently have access to export beef to China, but Lahiffe believes that the international respect U.S. branded beef currently holds would make the products incredibly marketable in China should access to the country eventually be granted.

“Within ten years, per capita beef consumption could double, which means that they would need an extra seven million tons of beef per year,” said Lahiffe in an interview during the ONE conference. “What other market is there with that kind of latent consumption? It could become our largest market if we are able to gain access to export our products there.”

In the meantime, Alltech is doing a significant amount of work with the Chinese beef industry, with hopes to help improve and increase their domestic production and build a healthy, sustainable beef sector within the country.

“China’s beef sector isn’t on a large scale yet, they’re struggling with financing and the areas of animal nutrition and health, so we have a strong presence over there right now, we’re offering them a lot of support.” said Lahiffe. “We’re building a beef farming institute to train the future beef farmers of the industry, and we also recently brought a group of 20 Chinese beef farmers to Amarillo, Texas, to see the beef sector there.”

Listen to Lizzy’s full interview with Ian here:
Interview with Ian Lahiffe, Alltech China

View and download photos from the event here: 2016 ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference Photo Album

Agribusiness, Alltech, Audio, Beef, International

AMSA Announces 2016 Canadian PORK 101 Course

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

pork-101The American Meat Science Association (AMSA) will be hosting the PORK 101 course at the University of Guelph, July 12-14, 2016 along with the National Pork Board, Maple Leaf Foods the Canadian Meat Science Association. The educational event is sponsored by Elanco Animal Health and Merck Animal Health.

Attendees will experience firsthand in the selection, evaluation and fabrication of their pork carcasses. As well as, the importance of hog handling, grading, food safety and much more. The course concludes with the attendees preparing and sampling products from pork carcasses including pumped loins, bacon, hams and sausage.

The program features:
• Live Hog Grading and Evaluation
• Lean Value Pricing
• Quality Management at Slaughter
• Slaughter Floor HACCP
• Measuring Carcass Quality and Composition
• Process Control Testing
• Fresh Sausage Production
• Pork Carcass Fabrication
• Value Addition
• Consistency Improvement
• Enhanced Pork Production
• Curing Production
• Retail and Consumer Issues

Ag Group, AMSA, Education, Pig, Pork, Pork Checkoff, Swine