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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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TENNESSEE FIELD DAY TO BE HELD JUNE 22
Whether you're a beef cattle producer or a tobacco producer, you can learn useful strategies to make your operation more productive at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture's Tobacco, Beef and More Field Day.
ABBA NATIONAL BRAHMAN SHOW TO BE HELD IN HATTIESBURG, MISS.
The ABBA National Brahman Show will be held in Hattiesburg, Miss., October 2-7, 2017 at the Forest County Multi-Purpose Center.
ABBA HOLDS ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING
The American Brahman Breeders Association (ABBA) held its 93rd Annual Membership Meeting March 8 in Houston where they initiated a new president, board members, and officers, and recognized outstanding members of the Brahman breed.
BE VIGILANT TO PREVENT HERD HEALTH RISKS
Beef cattle producers should be observant when conducting annual health vaccination protocols on their cattle, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts.
TAKE MEASURES TO PREVENT FOOT PROBLEMS IN HERD
As is common every year about this time, I have been getting calls and emails regarding hoof problems producers are seeing in their cattle. Generally this starts with “I've been having several cases of foot rot over the last few weeks. . . . ,” and the follow up discussion covers potential treatment and prevention.
IT'S THE PITTS -- PROCRASTINATE NOW
Today or not today, that is the question. Will you finally fix the toilet your wife has been nagging you about, or will you man-up, offer up a flimsy excuse and live to plunge another day?
HUNTIN' DAYLIGHT -- FUNDAMENTALS REMAIN STRONG AT MID-YEAR
“There is no guarantee prices will remain this strong, but there is also no information suggesting prices should decline,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee in his early-June market comments.
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO HOOTER MCCORMICK -- SQUIRRELED AWAY
Hooter's old friend, Uncas Bingelmeyer was usually more carefree than the owner of a new credit card at a discount store. Today, though, he watched the scenery speed by as if they were approaching doom instead of Tulsa.
PLAN PROPERLY TO MANAGE YEARLING HEIFER BREEDING
Developing and breeding yearling heifers can be equally rewarding and frustrating. The process is too timely and costly to land anywhere short of success. The technology around estrus synchronization continues to evolve and improve. However, the best protocols alone are not enough to create high pregnancy rates. It requires meticulous planning to properly execute the synchronization protocol and nutrition programs. It all matters when fighting for a few percentage points.
WELL-DESIGNED MANAGEMENT SYSTEM REQUIRES PLANNING
Every business has (or should have) a means of measuring and analyzing the various factors that play a role in overall performance and profitability as well as to help in decision making. Cattle operations are no different.
LOOK FOR SIGNS TO REDUCE AND HANDLE HEAT STRESS
Warmer temperatures are quickly approaching, and that means livestock producers should start considering how to help their animals handle the heat.
BLACK INK -- ARE WE THERE YET?
We were bringing a little preschool friend out to our house for the afternoon. She was a town kid and about every three miles, she'd ask, “Are we ALMOST there?”
IT'S THE PITTS -- HOW TO LOAD A HORSE
Here is the correct way to load a horse.
GIVE YOUNG WILDLIFE SPACE TO GROW
Spring is a glorious time of year. Flowers and leaves are not the only signs of new life. Plenty of food and warmer weather make this the perfect time for wildlife to mate and raise their offspring.
BLACK INK -- ARE YOU ON TRACK?
Biology says it takes two years from the day you breed cows till their calves can be harvested for beef or join the breeding herd to calve as two-year-olds. Decisions before, after and during any two-year span can make a big difference.

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