Featured Articles

  • Shadow
    Mar
    14
    Midwest AQ competition kicks off in Ames




    The teams of undergraduate students rotated through lab practicum stations, testing their skills on a wide range of animal science topics. Teams also gave 8- to 12-minute oral presentations in front of a panel of judges. Teams had one hour to research and prepare for a presentation on either “alternatives to antibiotic use in livestock production,” “water use in livestock production” or “consumer influence on the animal product supply chain.”

    AQ activities continue today at the 2016 Midwest Meeting in Des Moines, beginning with written exams and quiz bowl preliminary rounds in the morning and culminating with the final AQ quiz bowl competition and awards presentation in the evening.

    A special thanks goes out to Agri-King, the ASAS Foundation and Iowa State University for supporting the Midwest AQ competition.


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  • Shadow
    Mar
    14
    Register for Midwest Virtual Meeting


    March 14, 2016 – Were you unable to attend the 2016 Midwest Meeting? If so, you can still register to attend the Midwest Virtual Meeting.

    All Midwest presentations will be available through online webinars within 24 hours of the presentation. The talks will all remain online for 30 days after the meeting. This will allow you to view any presentation at the Midwest Meeting when it is convenient for you.

    Access to the Virtual Meeting is $200 for Members and $350 for Nonmembers. All of the Midwest Meeting attendees will also be able to access the Virtual Meeting, for free, as part of their registration.

    All Midwest attendees and the Virtual Meeting registrants will receive an email with instructions on how to access the Virtual Meeting.


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  • Shadow
    Mar
    14
    Join us for Snack and Fact


    March 14, 2016 – The next “Snack and Fact” briefing hosted by ASAS is scheduled for Wednesday, March 16, 2016 in Washington, D.C. The briefing will focus on the topic of “Land-Use Challenges for Animal Agriculture,” which is the subject of the October 2015 issue of Animal Frontiers.

    Please make plans to join us on March 16, 10:00 to 10:50 a.m. (Eastern) at 1300 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C.

    Dr. Deb Hamernik, University of Nebraska, and ASAS Public Policy Committee representative, will provide an introduction and goals of the briefing. Dr. Doug Tolleson, associate extension rangeland specialist and research scientist at the University of Arizona, will follow with a discussion on land use.


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  • Shadow
    Mar
    14
    No difference in meat from rabbits fed GM soybean meal


    By Chloe Mitchell, ASAS/ASAP communications intern

    March 10, 2016 – A new study from researchers in Italy adds to a growing body of research that shows meat from animals fed genetically modified plant material is no different than meat from animals fed a conventional diet.

    The research, recently published online in the Journal of Animal Science, investigates the presence of transgenic plant material in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and meat of rabbits fed genetically modified (GM) soybean meal. The study was conducted by animal scientists at Tuscia University in Viterbo, Italy.

    Fifteen male New Zealand White meat rabbits were used in the study, constituting a treatment group of ten rabbits fed a diet containing GM soybean meal, and a control group of five rabbits fed a diet containing conventional soybean meal. The aim of the study was to examine the potential for the transfer of transgenic DNA from the GM feed to the tissues and GI contents of rabbits fed the GM diet. The treatment diets were fed from weaning to slaughter. Samples were collected, including blood, organ and muscle, as well as stomach contents, hair samples and fecal samples.


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  • Shadow
    Mar
    11
    Midwest starts on Monday!


    March 10, 2016 – The 2016 Midwest Meeting is almost here. We anticipate another great meeting this year! If you will be joining us in Des Moines, here are some important meeting details:

    Registration Hours:

    Visit the Midwestern Section website for more meeting information.

    We look forward to seeing you in Des Moines!


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  • Shadow
    Mar
    11
    Livestock Diversity: Storing Genes for the Future


    By Kim Kaplan, ARS News Service

    March 10, 2016 – The National Animal Germplasm Collection, part of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), is ensuring that our livestock genetic diversity doesn’t disappear.

    The mission is to build a germplasm collection as diverse as our present livestock populations as insurance against disasters like the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak that hit Britain in 2001. An incident like that could easily decimate the gene pool of a livestock species and cost billions in lost revenue, explained ARS geneticist Harvey Blackburn, who oversees the Collection. And dead is dead-and-gone if there aren’t backups in the freezer as the National Animal Germplasm Collection has in Fort Collins, Colorado, he added.

    As the world’s largest gathering of genetic material from food and fiber animals, the Collection stores nearly a million samples from 31,000 domestic animals. This includes conventional livestock like pigs, chickens and cattle, and farmed fish like trout, as well as unexpected species such as bison, elk and even yaks, because they are also raised for food and wool.


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  • Shadow
    Mar
    11
    Australian interns visit NDSU


    By Chloe Mitchell and Holly Webb, ASAS/ASAP communications interns

    March 10, 2016 – ASAS organized a trip for us to Fargo, North Dakota, to visit the animal science facilities at North Dakota State University Campus. Many thanks to Kim Vonnahme for graciously hosting us and organizing our activities at NDSU.

    We arrived in Fargo and were taken on a tour of the NDSU Beef Cattle Research Complex (BCRC). Here we spoke with grad students conducting ultrasounds on pregnant cows, examining uterine and mammary blood flow. We also met with Trent Gilbery, animal care specialist, who took us to the feedmill and spoke about the different diets currently being used for BCRC research. After the BCRC, we returned to the main campus where Sheri Dorsam (histology and bioassay coordinator) gave us a tour of the physiology laboratories, before meeting with Kim Vonnahme.

    The following morning, we started the day with Kim at the dairy unit before being shown the Animal Nutrition and Physiology Centre (ANPC). The ANPC is an impressive facility that caters for multiple research projects across many species, allowing a controlled environment. We then sat in on a lecture given by Kim on reproductive physiology. Over lunch, numerous animal science graduate students spoke to us about their research projects and future plans. Carrie Hammer then hosted us at the university’s equine center, which can house approximately 250 horses and has an indoor arena so students can work with the horses throughout the winter months. We observed a colt training class before finishing the day at the BCRC.


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  • Shadow
    Mar
    08
    Southern Section abstracts available at JAS


    March 7, 2016 – If you would like to access all of the research abstracts from the 2016 Southern Section meeting, they are now available as a supplement in the Journal of Animal Science.

    Access the abstracts here: Volume 94, Supplement 1, February 2016. They also are available in the abstract book at the Southern Section Meeting website.




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  • Shadow
    Mar
    07
    Midwest Meeting App available


    March 7, 2016 – Attending the 2016 Midwest Meeting in Des Moines next week? Then check out the Midwest 2016 Meeting App to help you stay organized and have the most up-to-date Midwest Meeting information at your fingertips!

    If you are registered for the meeting, look for an email today from CrowdCompass on accessing the app.

    Download the app here.

    Visit the 2016 Midwest Meeting website.


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  • Shadow
    Mar
    07
    Canola beats soybean as protein source for dairy cattle


    By Dennis O’Brien, ARS Public Affairs Specialist

    March 7, 2016 – Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Wisconsin are helping dairy farmers weigh the merits of protein supplements available for their cattle.

    When it comes to protein supplements, dairy producers have two options: soybean meal and canola meal. Canola meal is a relatively new option—production increased rapidly in the 1990s as a cold-tolerant crop, but it was initially raised primarily for its seed oil. “Canola only recently caught on as a protein source for cattle when new varieties were developed,” says Glen A. Broderick, a former ARS dairy scientist with the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

    Broderick (now retired) and his colleagues divided 50 lactating dairy cows into 5 groups and varied their diets (high and low amounts of soybean meal, high and low amounts of canola meal, and a mix of low canola and low soybean meal). Each group received a different diet every three weeks, and researchers measured the amount of milk, milk proteins and urine nitrogen produced by the cows while on each diet. The diets were balanced to provide adequate levels of protein and included standard corn and alfalfa silages, corn grain and the usual supplementary vitamins, minerals and normal levels of neutral detergent fiber.


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  • Shadow
    Mar
    04
    Super Service Challenge donates to Hunger Fight


    March 3, 2016 – Exciting news! ASAS recently learned that the Super Service Challenge has matched $7,500 of our original $30,000 donation to the Hunger Fight nonprofit organization, further helping Hunger Fight continue its mission of helping families in need.

    During last year’s Joint Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla., ASAS teamed up with Hunger Fight to package 100,000 meals for hungry children and families in northern Florida. The meal-packaging event, as well as texting campaigns during our 2015 sectional meetings, resulted in a donation of $30,000 to the nonprofit!

    Thank you to our membership, as well as your families and friends, for supporting this project with your time and donations! We also thank our industry partners, the American Meat Science Association (AMSA), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), and the National Pork Board (NPB), who gave generously in support of this project.


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  • Shadow
    Mar
    04
    In memory: Dr. Bill Wailes


    March 3, 2016 – Dr. William “Bill” Wailes, Jr., former head of the Department of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University, passed away on February 26, 2016, from a rare and devastating prion disease. An obituary for Dr. Wailes is provided here. 

    William “Bill” R. Wailes, Jr., 69, of Fort Collins went to be with his Heavenly Father on Friday, February 26, 2016, from a rare and devastating prion disease.

    Bill was born on December 6, 1946 to William R. and Virginia (Elam) Wailes where he was raised on a dairy farm with his seven siblings in Johnstown. Bill graduated from Roosevelt High School in the Class of 1965 where he excelled in sports. Through 4-H, Bill developed a knowledge and a love for working with dairy cows. He graduated from Colorado State University in 1969, and then shortly after that, he joined the Marine Corps, attending Officer Candidate School. Bill became a Naval Flight Officer serving as Radar Intercept Officer on F-4 Phantom Jets. Upon returning from the service, Bill returned to Colorado State University managing the Dairy, and then he became the Extension Dairy Specialist. Throughout his tenure at CSU, he had a passion for coaching the Dairy Judging Team. Moving up, Bill became Department Head of Animal Sciences. He worked for over 30 years as an ambassador, representing CSU, the dairy industry and animal agriculture where he touched and influenced countless young lives. 

    Bill was a member of a number of agricultural organizations as well as Redeemer Lutheran Church of Fort Collins. He was past president of the Colorado Livestock Association. Awards and honors he received include the following; 2011 Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame Inductee, 2011 Colorado State University Meats Judging “Rams Legacy Award”, 2008 Colorado State University Alumni Association Jim and Nadine Henry Award, and 2008 Colorado Livestock Association Top Choice Award. He was recently nominated for the ADSA DeLaval Dairy Extension Award. Bill’s family received a flag which was flown over the U.S. Capitol on February 24, 2016, in his honor. Bill was an avid CSU fan and he enjoyed many activities. The most important was attending his grandchildren’s sporting events and activities. 


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  • Shadow
    Mar
    04
    Midwest symposium to focus on behavior, housing, well-being


    March 3, 2016 – The 2016 Midwestern Section meeting in Des Moines, Iowa, will include a symposium focused on the topics of animal behavior, housing and well-being. The symposium will take place on Tuesday, March 15.

    Part I (held during the morning) will focus on solutions to challenges in animal well-being. Presentations will include:

    (1) “The role of breeding in positive welfare change,” by Simon Turner, Richard D’Eath, Cathy Dwyer, Rainer Roehe, Joanne Conington, and Suzanne Desire, SRUC, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

    (2) “Implementing animal well-being technologies, U.S. producer perspective,” by Ashley DeDecker, Smithfield Hog Production Division


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  • Shadow
    Mar
    04
    Symposium preview: Antibiotic replacement in pork production


    March 3, 2016 – The Midwestern Section of the American Society of Animal Science will host a symposium on Tuesday, March 15 during the 2016 Midwest Section Meeting. The symposium will focus on antibiotic replacement in pork production.

    Speakers will present the following titles during the symposium:

    (1) What is ‘gut health’ and how do you quantify/measure it?

    (2) New probiotic Bacillus strain improving gut health in piglets


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  • Shadow
    Mar
    03
    Horses recognize emotion in human faces


    By Chloe Mitchell, ASAS/ASAP Intern

    March 3, 2016 – A paper recently published in Biology Letters has shown horses are able to recognize and respond to human emotions when presented with photographs of different human facial expressions.

    The study, undertaken at the University of Sussex, involved showing horses photographs of two men unknown to the horses. The men exhibited either a positive or negative facial expression. When shown an angry or negative expression, horses displayed an increased heart rate and a left-eye preference for viewing the photographs, which is associated with processing negative stimuli. Lateralized responses to human emotion such as this have previously only been seen in dogs, and the increased heart rate response to a negative facial expression has never been recorded before in any species. These are thought to be stress-related responses.

    Previous studies conducted by these researchers and others have shown that horses respond to the direction of the human gaze, yet this is the first study to examine the reaction to human facial expression. The authors acknowledge that the source of the horses’ ability to discriminate between the facial expressions has not been determined. The horse response may or may not be broadly applicable to human expressions from people of all ages, gender and appearance, or could also be a result of previous experience of the horses used in the study.


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  • Shadow
    Mar
    01
    Call for nominations: Western Section Graduate Student Director


    Western Section Graduate students: Nominations are due March 2, 2016 for the Western Section Graduate Student Director.
    BENEFITS OF THIS POSITION: 
    • Powerful networking experience.
    • Build leadership skills and opportunities.
    • Develop prestige, as you will serve on the WSASAS Executive Board
    and the Advising and Coordinating Committee.
    • Travel and expenses to Western Section meetings are covered.
    • Provide a voice for fellow graduate students and peers.

    TIME COMMITMENT AND RESPONSIBILITIES: 
    This is a 2-year appointment that will require 5 – 20 hours per month
    (time will vary depending upon the time of the year).

    Responsibilities will include: 
    • Plan and implement the Graduate Student Lunch and Learn.
    • Organize the Young Scholars Award Symposium.
    • Create networking opportunities through organizing the Graduate Student Mixer.
    • Initiate communication and discussion forums for Western Section graduate students.
    • Post event and career information on the ASAS Graduate BULLetin.
    • Serve and vote on meeting issues presented during Executive Board meetings.

    HOW TO NOMINATE:
    Please send your nominations to Dr. James Berardinelli (jgb@montana.edu)
    by Wenesday, March 2, 2016.

    QUESTIONS?
    For questions about this amazing opportunity please contact Kelsey Quinn (kquinn@nmsu.edu)


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  • Shadow
    Mar
    01
    2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines released


    By Dr. Teresa Davis, ASAS Public Policy Committee

    February 29, 2016 – The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans have been released by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS). The new guidelines emphasize a healthy eating pattern that provides nutrient-dense foods, a caloric intake to support a healthy body weight, and a diet that promotes health and reduces the risk of chronic disease.

    The Dietary Guidelines were first issued in 1980 and have been updated every 5 years. In addition to providing guidance to health care professionals and consumers on healthy eating, the guidelines set nutrition standards for the school lunch program and food assistance programs such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. An external Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a 15-member panel of experts in the fields of nutrition, health, and medicine, submitted their report to the USDA and HHS last year. In addition to the advisory report, the USDA and HHS obtained input from federal medical and nutrition experts as well as the public before issuing the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines.

    According to the new 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a healthy eating pattern includes a variety of vegetables (from all subgroups), fruits (especially whole fruits), grains (at least half of which should be whole grains), fat-free or low-fat dairy (including milk, yogurt, and cheese), a variety of protein foods (including seafood, lean meats, poultry, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds, and soy products), and oils.


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  • Shadow
    Mar
    01
    Revised animal well-being policy statement available


    February 29, 2016 – An ASAS policy statement that discusses farm animal well-being has been updated. It joins a list of several other policy statements updated by members of the ASAS Public Policy Committee. For your convenience, a copy of the policy statement is provided here. Access all of the updated ASAS Public Policy statements here.

    Rationale:

    Scientists and animal producers have an ethical obligation to provide environments for farm animals that promote high quality animal well-being. Determination of the animal’s well-being is only gained through understanding the science of farm animal needs. Production of safe and high-quality animal-sourced food and fiber in a sustainable manner is essential for consumers as well as livestock and poultry producers. It is in the best interest of animal industries to use current, science-based standards to provide the best possible animal care.

    Continued improvements in management practices which ensure animal well-being are a necessary part of sustainably satisfying the increasing world demand for animal-sourced food and fiber. The public has a legitimate interest in the potential environmental, food safety, and animal well-being implications of livestock and poultry production. The animal science community must faithfully and objectively examine those implications in a scientifically rigorous fashion—investigating, teaching, and implementing those practices and technologies found to accommodate high well-being of the animal and production efficiency.


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  • Shadow
    Feb
    29
    Meet the new head of APHIS Animal Care



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  • Shadow
    Feb
    29
    Meet our 2016 D.C. interns




    Olivia Woods

    Olivia Woods attends Oregon State University and is completing a Bachelor of Science, Animal Science with minors in Spanish and Public Health. Olivia aims to incorporate her background and passion for agriculture with knowledge obtained about the policy making process in D.C. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career working with producers to develop agricultural methods that benefit both producers and society. Olivia looks forward to gaining a greater insight into the policy making process.

    Photo: Rayburn House Office Building in Washington D.C.


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