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Updated Harvard BSE risk analysis released July 26, 2006 Yesterday, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) held a briefing about the updated BSE risk assessment (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/Risk_Assessments/index.asp) it commissioned from the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis. A Reuters article about the news leads with the report finding that “The U.S. government virtually eliminated the threat of mad cow disease to consumers by requiring the removal of brains, spinal cords and other high risk items from older cattle” (http://asia.news.yahoo.com/060725/3/2nm0y.html). Representatives from the Consumer advocacy groups Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and Consumers Union (CU) were quoted in the Reuters story. Caroline Smith DeWaal from CSPI said the government hasn’t been as proactive as it could be while CU’s Michael Hansen claimed the report was designed to find what the government wanted it to. Harvard conducted its initial BSE Risk Assessment in 2001 and then updated it in 2003. This time, FSIS asked the Harvard risk modeling experts to gauge the effectiveness of new safeguards implemented since December 2003 and determine the need for further controls. Even assuming a much greater rate of BSE incidence than the authors say is likely and imperfect feed ban compliance, the report finds the food safety measures enacted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture all reduce potential human exposure to BSE infectivity. Although the Authors detail the risk reduction achieved by individual safeguard measures – removing downer cattle from the human food supply and removing specified risk materials (SRMs) – they also remind that these are reductions relative to what already is a small risk. Harvard also looked at the additional feed ban controls proposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the International Review Team recommendations. The authors say banning ruminant blood in ruminant feed and dedicated production lines would have little effect on disease spread. Instead, the report finds that removing SRMs from dead stock prior to rendering and banning all animal-derived protein from cattle feed would be most effective in reducing the already low risk of BSE spreading in the U.S. cattle herd. Harvard has always attributed its findings to the strong safeguard measures the United States started implementing early on. The United States was the first country in the world to institute a feed ban before any BSE cases were found. In addition, the U.S. started its active BSE surveillance program in 1990. Since then, the United States has tested nearly 1 million cattle, particularly older cattle that are at greater risk for the disease, and found only two cases. As a result of industry and government actions beginning in 1989 and, now quantified in the Harvard report, BSE risk in the United States is very low resulting in the full protection of public and animal health. ...More


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IBBA ANNUAL MEETING TO BE HELD FEBRUARY 10-11, 2017
The International Brangus Breeders Association's (IBBA) 2017 Annual Meeting & Convention is scheduled for February 10-11 in San Antonio, Texas.
DEBTER HEREFORD FARM HOLDS 44TH ANNUAL SALE
Debter Hereford Farm's 44th Annual Production Bull Sale was held, October 22nd, at the farm in Horton, Alabama.
TAKING A LOOK AT 2017 FOR CATTLE PRODUCERS
It's time to drag out the trusty crystal ball and take a look at what 2017 has in store for the beef cattle industry. For this to make sense we need to consider where we came from and how we got to where we are.
IT'S THE PITTS -- CATTLE TRAITING
Expected progeny differences (EPD's) have done wonders in improving the quality of our cattle. My only problem with EPD's is there aren't enough of them for traits that I'm most interested in.
HUNTIN' DAYLIGHT -- FEWER AND BIGGER
Whether the proverbial chicken or egg, another round of agricultural consolidation appears to be spurred along by suppliers dealing with narrow margins.
BLACK INK -- MAKING THE MOST OF IT
“Suppose we could only make 1 million cars. If the auto industry was limited for some reason, what would they do? Would they make small, cheap vehicles or big, premium, expensive cars?” An industry observer asked that question at a cattle feeders meeting this summer.
LATE WEANING HELPS AVOID EFFECTS OF HARSH WINTER
A growing number of stockmen are calving later in the year (April, May or June) rather than early, to be more in tune with nature. They have green grass at calving time and less need for harvested forage when the cow's nutritional needs are peaking during lactation.
NEW VETERINARY FEED DIRECTIVE TAKE EFFECT JANUARY 1, 2017
As of January 1, 2017, beef producers must comply with the new rule regarding use of antibiotics in feed. This rule is aimed at better management of certain antibiotics considered medically important to humans—putting them under more veterinary supervision. This is part of a larger movement to minimize development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

HEALTHY SOIL AIDS GRASS AND ANIMAL VIGOR
Dung beetles, earthworms and pollinators are the good guys when it comes to the health of soil and grassland resources.
RESEARCHERS DEVELOP NEW WHITE CLOVER
Researchers at The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation and University of Georgia (UGA) have developed a new white clover variety called Renovation to help agricultural producers improve and maintain healthy, productive pastures.
IT'S THE PITTS -- WISE BEYOND HIS YEARS
My shrewd buddy Everett came by for a visit today. I haven't seen him for awhile because he's been hauling stock, driving his John Deere and learning how to operate a backhoe.
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO HOOTER MCCORMICK -- MOM'S CHRISTMAS MEMORIES
Christmas Eve was always celebrated at a little two-room country school called Bethel School House out in the middle of Greggs' pasture.
CALVING IS VERY IMPORTANT TIME IN PRODUCTION YEAR
For the cow-calf operation, the main goal is for each breeding female to produce a healthy calve once per year. That said, in the typical cow-calf operation, calving is, without a doubt one of the most important periods of the entire production year.
EPDS PROVIDE THE MOST ACCURATE SELECTION METHOD
Selecting beef cattle based on expected progeny difference (EPD) values provides the most accurate selection method currently available to beef producers for economically important traits.

WILL IONOPHORES BE AFFECTED BY REGULATION CHANGES?
An ionophore is a feed additive used in beef cattle rations to improve feed efficiency and animal gains.

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