DairyCast Industry

How To Open the Barn Doors, Connect With Community

focused on the community

Commitment to connecting to the community is a key mission for this feed company. Tim Belstra, President, Belstra Milling Co., Inc., shares who they are, what they do, and why they do it.

"It should always be the challenge of food producers and food consumers to understand what it takes to provide 2 to 3 meals per day, to the world" Tim states

From the 2011 Animal Ag Alliance Stakeholders Summit, May 5-6, Arlington, VA, USA.

Two issues facing the world: food versus population

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Population growth and increased per-capita consumption are driving global changes to how food is produced and distributed.

In particular, higher incomes have caused per-capita consumption of livestock products (and feed grains) to increase. However, these trends, like population growth, will not continue indefinitely.

Dr. Douglas Southgate, Jr. Professor of Agricultural, Environmental, and Developmental Economics, The Ohio State University, highlights several of the issues that will cause stress in the system of food production to support a slowing growing population. From the 2011 Annual Conference of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture, April 11 - 14, San Antonio, TX USA.

Can Communicating with Consumers Help In Agriculture?

NIAA Animal Health Emergency Management Council

Foot-and-mouth disease, not to be confused with hand, foot and mouth disease, is a virus that affects cloven-hoofed animals, including cattle, sheep, and pigs. Foot-and-mouth disease is a serious animal disease but it does not affect food safety.

Unfortunately, many consumers are not aware of the disease until there is an outbreak. When surveyed, 69% of consumers say people can get FMD from infected meat, and many confuse FMD with bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE. FMD cannot be spread to humans through meat consumption and FMD is not related to BSE.

To help better prepare the animal agriculture industry before outbreaks occur, Dairy Management Inc., The Pork Checkoff, and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association are working together to provide producers with the tools to help inform and educate consumers that FMD is not a threat to people and does not affect the safety of meat or milk. This presentation by Cindy Cunningham, Assistant VP of Communications, National Pork Board, shares the current state of the Cross Species FMD Communications Team. From 2011 Annual Conference of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture, April 11 - 14, San Antonio, TX USA.

Are the right people at the Table?

Food Plate Tectonics: Thriving on the fault line Matt Sutton-Vermeulen, Unison Resource Company, states that everyone needs to be around the table when discussing "economically viable, environmental sustainable, and social responsible food"
So who's sitting around the table?
From the 2011 Annual Conference of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture, April 11 - 14, San Antonio, TX USA.

What are the 5 key legal approaches being used against agriculture?

The Law and Food Production Systems and Food Safety

Today agriculture is the target of many organizations that aim to misconstrue or distort claims about farming and thus injuring producers.

"While the U.S. enjoys the least expensive, highest quality and safest food supply in the world, the agricultural sector has been under severe criticism, accused of producing unsafe and low quality food in 'factory farms,' the mistreatment of animals, how current production systems are destroying the environment and many other accusations." Pena, Agriculture Under Attack (2010).

Chris McDonald, Partner, Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P., shares a presentation on Legal Challenges and Ramifications of Food Production Systems and Food Safety, from the 2011 Annual Conference of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture, April 11 - 14, San Antonio, TX USA.

Animal Agriculture Alliance Kicks Off Summit

The Animal Agriculture Alliance started their Stakeholders Summit today (May 5). Some quotes from the event (via Twitter)

  • The Honorable Pat Roberts, Kansas, Ranking Member, Senate Agriculture Committee, "says at #AAA11 farmers and ranchers ' have to tell our story' or others will tell it for us" via @BeltwayBeef
  • Jason Shoultz, Summit Moderator, Producer/Reporter, America’s Heartland, "When I look at farmers across the country, I see the passion they have for what they do. That passion is what we need." via @animalag
  • Animal Ag Industry Must Police its Members

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    Mercy for Animals released a video showing graphic images of people at the E6 Cattle Company (Hart, Texas) abusing cows. Many in the dairy industry spoke out, many saying that this is a bad apple and the all animal farms are not like what is portrayed in the video.

    "Many farmers like myself and my family spend long hours caring for our animals the proper way only to have one bad actor ruin it for thousands." said Ray Prock, Jr. of Ray-Lin Dairy in California.

    Agriculture industry trade groups are calling on animal agriculture industry professionals to bring on peer pressure to remove operators that are not following the regulations and laws in place.

    How Does USDA Inspected Stamp Change?

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    The USDA has issued a change in the way the pervasive "Inspected" stamp is to be applied in the future. The new process calls for the stamp's application to occur after test samples come back negative for any issues.

    The American Meat Institute has long urged the industry to adopt test and hold policies. In October 2009, Patrick Boyle, president of AMI, sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack asking that the agency mandate test and hold. Boyle noted in the letter that more than 80 percent of the recalls due to of E. coli O157:H7 and all recalls due to the presence of Listeria monocytogenes during 2009 could have been prevented if tested products had been held.

    How Will Radiation Affect Dairy Production?

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    The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that milk products in Spokane, Wash had 0.8 pCi/L of iodine-131, a level 5,000 times lower than the Derived Intervention Level set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is believed the radiation is from the Japanese Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The EPA continues to with state and local governments on monitoring of milk under its RADNET program.

    “Iodine 131 has a half-life of eight days, meaning that every eight days it loses half its strength. Since production of iodine 131 stopped when the Fukushima reactors shut down on March 11, it has already been through two half-lives and could easily be halved once or twice more again before the milk is consumed as cheese or yogurt." the New York Times reported.

    Can Dairy Practices Reduce Carbon Footprints?

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    A study on milk production use of Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin (rbST) showed a reduction in the carbon footprint of dairies. Using rbST to increase milk production in cows means that less cows, resources, and energy are needed produce the same quantity of milk, when compared to a dairy operation not using rbST.

    "Environmental sustainability is an important consideration in agricultural production, with emphasis placed upon meeting human food requirements while mitigating environmental impact. The present study demonstrates that use of rbST markedly improves the efficiency of milk production and mitigates environmental parameters, including eutrophication and acidification, greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel use," wrote the study’s authors.

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