2014 Mid-South Ruminant Nutrition Conference is April 23-24  

The 2014 Mid-South Ruminant Nutrition Conference will be held April 23-24 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Grapevine, Texas.

The program is presented by the Texas Animal Nutrition Council and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in cooperation with various cattle and dairy industry groups, associations and businesses.

“These conferences provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity to learn about the most recent developments in ruminant nutrition and from some of the nation’s foremost experts,” said Dr. Ellen Jordan, AgriLife Extension dairy specialist based in Dallas and member of the conference planning committee. “They consistently draw over a hundred people from the dairy industry and associated businesses and organizations across the U.S.”

Jordan, also a member of the Texas Animal Nutrition Council, said the conference will provide attendees with important information on the future of the dairy industry and on the technologies and management practices that will help ensure adequate milk supplies for a growing global population.

She said conference programming has been approved for six continuing education units from the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiner and seven continuing education units from the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists.

The April 23 program will be from noon-4:30 p.m. and will address human versus animal nutrition, particularly fact and fiction about food and feed.

Lunch, which is included in program registration, will be from noon-1 p.m., followed by topics and presenters to include:

Enough: The Fight for a Food Secure Tomorrow, Colleen Parr Dekker, Elanco director of communications. Dekker will speak about safe technologies, vaccines and disease control as means of helping provide enough milk to meet future demand.

Milk, Milk Fat and Human Health: Challenging Popular Misperceptions, Dr. Adam L. Lock, Michigan State University. Lock will address milk and human health, as well as the impact of changing management techniques on milk composition.

The Interface Between Animal and Human Health: Antibiotic Use, Resistance and Controversy, Dr. Guy Loneragan, Texas Tech University. Loneragan will discuss the use of antibiotics in food animal production and the potential impacts on antibiotic resistant microbes, as well as explore the relationship between antibiotic use and resistance.

A Decade of Algae Technology R&D: Hopes, Hypes and How Animal Ag May Benefit, Dr. Peter J. Lammers, New Mexico State University. Lammers will discuss an algae-based co-product of biodiesel production that may have use as an animal feed and risks associated with the introduction of this new feed product.

Presentations will be followed by the Texas Animal Nutrition Council meeting at 4:30 p.m., then a reception to begin at 5:35 p.m. that will include light hors d’oeuvres.

The April 24 program will be from 8 a.m.-noon and will focus on nutrition efficiency.

Topics and presenters for that morning will be:

Maximized Feed Intake: Access and Consumption, Dr. Trevor DeVries, University of Guelph, Kemptville Campus. DeVries will discuss how to maximize feed intake without compromising the health and well-being of the animals and ways to enhance access and consumption; thereby improving animal well-being.

Production Efficiency and Sustainability of the Cattle Industry, Dr. Frank M. Mitloehner, University of California – Davis. Mitloehner will speak about the growth and environmental impact of the dairy industry, including how to decrease the carbon footprint and improve sustainability by increasing feed efficiency.

Using Models on Dairy Farms-How Well Do They Work? Dr. Larry E. Chase, Cornell University. Chase will discuss and compare different nutritional systems in differing environmental situations and how well they may predict animal performance.

An Economic Comparison of Conventional vs. Intensive Heifer Rearing, Dr. Michael W. Overton, Elanco. Overton will present performance data as well as health data from multiple locations to evaluate the economic returns from switching to an intensive heifer rearing program and share this comprehensive analysis with the audience.

Panel Discussion on Efficiency of Nutrition – Next Steps.

Visit http://www.txanc.org for a conference registration form or contact Sharon Harris at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Dallas at 972-952-9201 or srharris@ag.tamu.edu.

Regular conference registration is $175 per individual. Early registration postmarked by April 2 is $150. There are no group rates. Make checks payable to Texas Animal Nutrition Council and mail to TANC, Dr. Ellen Jordan, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas, Texas 75252-6599.

For online registration using a credit card, go to the Texas Animal Nutrition Council website.

Embassy Suites is offering a special conference rate of $145 per night if rooms are reserved on or before April 2, Jordan said. For reservations call 1-800-EMBASSY or 972-724-2600.

Conference proceedings will be available at an additional cost.

•    For more informaiton, contact Paul Schattenberg, 210-467-6575, paschattenberg@ag.tamu.edu or Dr. Ellen Jordan, 972-952-9212, e-jordan2@tamu.edu


Nevada launches drought website

With the 2014 drought looming, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension has partnered with other agencies to launch its Living With Drought website, a one-stop shop where homeowners, gardeners, farmers, ranchers, natural resource managers and others can find information to help them respond to their various drought-related challenges. The website is at http://www.unce.unr.edu/programs/sites/drought/.

As part of the Living With Drought effort, Cooperative Extension is also offering workshops across the state next month to give Nevada agricultural producers information to help them prepare for the drought. Topics will include water availability, recommended irrigation practices, insurance options and an outlook on prices. Workshops will be on April 14 in Schurz and Yerington, and April 29 in Minden.

In addition, Cooperative Extension will offer Living With Drought workshops for Nevada ranchers, including topics such as insurance options, how best to downsize herds, infrastructure recommendations, animal nutrition recommendations, availability of water for animals, and how drought affects plants and grazing options. These workshops will begin in May. As details become available, they will be posted on the Living With Drought website. Farmers and ranchers seeking more information on drought-related workshops can also call Cooperative Extension at 775-945-3444, ext. 12, for more information.


WUD critical of proposed FDA feed rule

Western United Dairymen has written a comment letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) criticizing its draft livestock feed regulations. The draft regulations were issued under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which gave the FDA broad new authority to regulate food. The rule has encountered opposition in recent weeks from many animal agriculture organizations who believe the draft animal feed regulation goes too far, particularly because it would make it harder to use brewers’ grain as animal feed, a practice in use for hundreds of years.

“California’s agricultural environment is considerably different than the rest of the states and that environment needs to be considered as FDA drafts this feed rule,” said CEO Michael Marsh in WUD’s comments. “Hundreds of crops are grown in the Golden State and many of these crops produce by-products which are fed to livestock. This provides a quality feed for livestock, including dairy, and a useful outlet for these by-products other than land filling or other wasteful practices.”

Marsh explained, “This rule needs to be risk based and it is not currently clear what risk is being mitigated by these costly requirements. The costs that are borne by the providers of our feeds to comply with these rules will be passed down to farmers, including small farmers, which have struggled with high feed costs in recent years.”

Marsh concluded, “It appears that many of the regulatory concepts, definitions and terms in the proposed rule were lifted from rules appropriately applied to human food. We believe that the FDA must base this regulatory program in science and risk analysis as it relates to animal food and to focus on mitigating animal food hazards that are known to occur or are reasonably foreseeable to occur that pose risk to animal and/or human health.”

Source: Western United Dairymen


CDFA water efficiency grant program seeks public comment

Emergency drought legislation (SB 103) signed earlier this month by Gov. Brown allocates $10 million to the CDFA for on-farm water conservation practices. The funding will establish the CDFA Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program, a grant pro-gram to increase water conservation through efficiencies and better management and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency.

Two public stakeholder meetings have been scheduled in April to explain the new program and to receive comments and suggestions. The meetings are:

• Friday, April 11, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the CDFA Headquarters, Main Auditorium, 1st floor, 1220 N Street, Sacramento.

• Friday, April 18, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.at the Stanislaus County Agricultural Center, Harvest Hall, Room DE, 3800 Cornucopia Way, Modesto.

More information about this program, including a conceptual framework of the grant program, will be available at: http:// www.cdfa.ca.gov/EnvironmentalStewardship/H2O_EandE.html.

Source: Western United Dairymen


California legislators look at restoring funds to Williamson Act

California lawmakers are considering restoring funds to the Williamson Act, a $30 million to $40 million program that for decades has protected agricultural land and open space from development. Funding was cut to $1,000 in the 2009-10 state budget during the recession. In an Assembly budget subcommittee hearing this week in Sacramento, Western United Dairymen joined with several organizations in urging the program be funded in the 2014-15 state budget. Those testifying included representatives from the Nature Conservancy, the California Building Industry Association and the California State Association of Counties. The program provides funding to county governments, known as subventions, to help offset reduced property tax revenue after entering into contracts with landowners who agree to restrict their land use to agricultural activities. In exchange, the property is assessed at production value, rather than market a value that is tied to development activities.

About 15.5 million acres in 52 counties currently are covered by the program, down from about 16.5 million acres in 2010. The program is administered by the state Department of Conservation. To qualify for inclusion, parcels must be located in an agricultural preserve designated by a county or city.

At the budget hearing's conclusion, a decision about funding the Williamson Act was held to allow further review of an appropriate funding level for the program.


California Bioresources Alliance Symposium June 3-4 at UC Davis

The ninth annual California Bioresources Alliance Symposium will be held June 3-4 at UC Davis and will feature the latest re-search in the field being done at UC Davis on organic residuals issues. Sessions will include legislative and policy developments on organic residuals in California, impacts of mandatory recycling and landfill closures, waste-to-energy issues, biogas issues including clustering dairies and use for vehicle fuel, and local initiatives. The symposium brings together industry professionals, municipalities, regulators, legislators, state and federal agencies, students, researchers, financers and others involved in California organic residuals.

The two-day event is co-hosted by UC Davis Extension and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9. For more information about the symposium, contact Lauren Fondahl, US EPA Region 9, at fondahl.lauren@epa.gov or (415) 972-3514. For more information about registration or to become a sponsor, contact Sara House at sdhouse@ucdavis.edu or (530) 757-8549.

Source: Western United Dairymen  


Great American Milk Drive kicks off to aid families

The dairy checkoff, through the National Dairy Council and milk companies, through the Milk Processor Education Program are partnering with Feeding America to launch The Great American Milk Drive, which will help deliver much-desired milk to 12.5 million families who need it most across the country. This is the first-ever, multi-year, nationwide program that will deliver gallons of milk to the one in six Americans who are food insecure through the Feeding America network of more than 200 food banks that serve thousands of local community agencies and pantries. Here is what California dairy families can do to help:

• Sign up for our "Thunderclap" page to help flood social networks tomorrow with campaign messages and the call to action to donate.

• Choose how to support via Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr (or all 3!)

• Include #MilkDrive in your social conversations

• Join the conversation: Hungry families in our community need the essential nutri-ents that milk provides, but it's rarely donated to food banks. Look out for a solution to this problem on April 2! http://milklife.com/give #MilkDrive. Did you know that #milk is the #1 nutritious product request by food bank clients, but is rarely donated? http:// milklife.com/give #MilkDrive

Source: Western United Dairymen