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    VFD Resources for My Show Animal

    January 1st marked the effective start date of the veterinary feed directive (VFD) regulations. During the January 4th Animal Care Wednesday Webinar we heard from two great speakers on resources for show animals regarding these new VFD regulations. Bernie O’Rourke, University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension Youth Livestock Specialist, shared how Wisconsin prepared their youth exhibitor families with information on the VFD regulations.

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    Introducing Youth for the Quality Care of Animals!

    Quality Care of Animals (YQCA) is a quality assurance program for youth livestock producers aged 8 to 21. The YQCA program covers the seven major species of food producing animals: beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine, sheep, goats, poultry, and rabbits. To assist various education levels with meeting the learning objectives, the curriculum content is targeted to four age groups: Junior (8-11), Intermediate (12-14), Senior (15-18), and Young Adult (19-21).

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    Do as I say and not as I do…

    How many times have you heard this? In regards to our communities and agricultural development we all need to remember that we are all under public scrutiny. Our actions whether a small or large producer can have monumental impact as we move forward with agriculture being the forefront of an economic base within communities and the state.

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    Farm Safety: Making it a daily habit

    We know that agriculture ranks as one of the most dangerous occupations causing an estimated 167 lost-work-time injuries on a daily basis, of which 5% result in permanent impairment, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. In addition, approximately 20 farm workers per 100,000 die annually, with the leading cause of these deaths being tractor overturns.

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    So You Think You Want to Raise Backyard Chickens?

    As families desire to raise their own food, more people are beginning to raise chickens and other poultry in urban and suburban areas. When people bring poultry into communities and their backyards, issues can arise. Dr. Jacquie Jacob, University of Kentucky Poultry Extension Project Manager, presented some of these challenges during the August Animal Care Wednesday Webinar.

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    Is it Done Yet? How to determine meat is cooked properly

    “Is it done yet?” We all ask this question when cooking and there are a variety of methods that have been passed down to determine the ‘doneness’ of different products. For example, my grandmother taught me to throw spaghetti against the wall and if it sticks to the wall it’s done. In later years I’ve learned that although this method is fun to implement, it really just results in sticky walls and overdone pasta.

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    Heat Exhaustion & Stroke: Protecting yourself and your employees

    For those whose livelihood depends upon working outdoors or in less than favorable conditions, the coming weeks look to be quite difficult with higher than normal temperatures and humidity predicted. For example, cows still need to be milked and fed, barns are not air conditioned, even though there is emphasis on cow comfort through ventilation and cooling, we sometimes get lax on also protecting ourselves and employees from the effects of heat.

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    June 2016 Hogs & Pigs Report Indicates S.D. Sow Numbers in Top 10 in the United States

    Sow numbers in S.D. are at 190,000 sows, which puts S.D. in the top 10 in sow numbers in the United States. Also, S.D. ranks #11 in market hogs. As new sow units and finishing barns get approved and built, these numbers will increase in the future. Not only will these new barns provide needed jobs to rural communities and an avenue for young people to return to the family farm, they will also create an increased demand for locally raised corn and soybeans.

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    Save the Date: SDSU BBQ Bootcamp June 12

    The South Dakota State University Meat Science program will be hosting a BBQ Bootcamp at Strawbale Winery in Renner, SD on June 12 from 1-3:30 p.m. BBQ Bootcamp programs are designed to educate consumers about cut selection, grilling and BBQ techniques, use of marinades and rubs and safe handling of meat products. Attendees are guided through these topics by SDSU professors, graduate students and staff in a fun and interactive setting

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    How much room does a pig need?

    Let’s take a moment to consider one of the animal observations from the Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) Site Assessment and its impacts. Recommendations exist in facility planning books about the square footage for an animal at each phase of production. However, these recommendations are simply a starting point at achieving animal comfort and maximizing the efficiency of your building. The challenge we sometimes forget is that recommendations are formed based on some assumptions and certain sizes of animals.

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    Slanted Bed Biofilter Construction: Lessons learned at the SDSU wean-finish unit

    A biofilter is an air filtration system that uses a layer of microbes on a support media to filter gases from the air exiting a livestock facility. The support media can be a wide variety of material but is most often woodchips. This article outlines the design considerations and cost to construct a slanted bed biofilter for a pit fan on the new South Dakota State University Swine Education and Research Facility wean-finish unit.

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    Horizontal Bed Biofilter Construction: Lessons learned at the SDSU gestation unit

    A biofilter is an air filtration system that uses a layer of microbes on a support media to filter gases from the air exiting a livestock facility. The support media can be a wide variety of material but is most often woodchips. This article outlines the design considerations, experiences and cost to construct a horizontal bed biofilter for a pit fan on the new South Dakota State University Swine Education and Research Facility gestation room.

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    South Dakota Surface Water Quality

    South Dakota has about 9,726 miles of perennial rivers and streams and 86,660 miles of intermittent streams. The state also has about 572 lakes and reservoirs with designated aquatic life and recreational beneficial uses. Over the past five years (Oct 2008 - Sept 2013) the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has assessed these surface waters, as required under the Clean Water Act, and has found 94 different streams or stream segments and 72 lakes that are impaired, meaning that they don’t meet their intended beneficial uses.

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    Waters of the U.S. Update

    The rule defining “Waters of the U.S.” under the Clean Water Act (CWA) that has been proposed by the Environmental Protection agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has a comment period that will end Nov 14th 2014. This has been a controversial topic since the comment period started on April 24th 2014. Some of the main topics of debate have been jurisdiction over ditches, agricultural impacts from fertilizer and pesticide application, and jurisdiction over “other waters”.

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    Cost-Share and Design Assistance Available for On-Farm Mortality Composting

    Due to the rampant spread of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) many swine producers are looking for options of safe and effective carcass disposal to prevent further spread of the disease.  Recent research on PEDv destruction indicates short-term high temperature conditions (greater than 160F) are needed for virus inactivation on metal surfaces (Thomas et al., 2013), but the effectiveness of other time and temperature combinations are not known. 

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    PEDv and Manure Hauling

    The presence of the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) in South Dakota and region requires producers, manure haulers and land owners to cooperatively work together to reduce the risk of disease spread during the manure application season. Biosecurity measures during the manure hauling season are not new to Pork Producers, but it never hurts to take a fresh look at procedures on your operation, especially in light of new and ongoing research.

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    How Gut Bacteria Can Improve Swine Production

    Microbiology may not be what comes to mind initially when you think about swine production practices, but recent research may hold the key to making changes based on the veterinary feed directive regulations (effective January 1, 2017). Bacterial populations located all along the gastrointestinal tract of animals, collectively referred to as the microbiome, play an integrative, symbiotic role with their swine hosts. Researchers have uncovered some clear data that demonstrates beneficial effects on several factors of swine production, including increased feed:gain ratio, growth performance, and decreased pathogen load. The production effects are primarily attributed to reducing post-weaning stress and altering the microbiome with non-traditional feed additives.

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    Caring for Animals When the Power Goes Out

    The power outages experienced in areas of South Dakota might make animal caretakers wonder, “How did we ever raise livestock in the days before electricity?”  Electric lights, hot water heaters, and mechanical ventilation are all items that are taken for granted, except when weather events interrupt their supply of “juice.”

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    Hammering Out the Details as the VFD Rule Approaches

    As the January 1, 2017 implementation date approaches, livestock producers, veterinarians, and feed distributors are gearing up to start complying with new rules regarding feed-grade antibiotics. Among some producers and veterinarians, a recent sentiment has been that the VFD rules are “changing,” leading to confusion. In reality, the VFD rules have not “changed” at all since becoming final. The rules as published, however, aren’t heavy on details. When different people interpret these details on the basis of a specific farm’s needs, different answers to the same questions can emerge, unfortunately creating more uncertainty.

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    Understanding the Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship

    By now, livestock producers are becoming aware of soon-to-be-implemented changes in how feed grade antibiotics are used, in the form of expanded use of the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). Producers using feed grade medications such as chlortetracycline and tylosin will need to obtain a prescription-like VFD form from a veterinarian before they’re able to purchase and feed those medications.

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    Feeding DON-Contaminated Wheat to Pigs

    Based on a recent report by Dr. Emmanuel Byamukama, Differentiating Between Wheat Head Diseases and Disorders, it appears that conditions are right for Fusarium head blight (or scab) growth in South Dakota, which leads to the production of the mycotoxin Deoxynivalenol (DON) in wheat. While DON-contaminated grains can cause problems for livestock, pork producers have several options when dealing with this situation.

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    Where Do the Sharps Go?

    I gave my animal a shot, now what? Animals receive shots for various reasons throughout their life, just like people. Sometimes they are used to prevent diseases, in the case of vaccinations; and sometimes they are used to help an animal recover from a bacterial illness, as with antibiotics. Regardless of why the animal received a shot, it is important to dispose of the needle in a safe way.

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    Keeping Your Vaccines Viable

    Vaccines are a vital part of keeping all livestock healthy. Vaccines help in the prevention of disease which results in less utilization of antibiotics due to fewer sick animals. Vaccines provide protective immunity approximately 21 days following the initial vaccination in the majority of livestock. Some vaccines may require a booster vaccination(s) to ensure immunity for the period designated by the manufacturer.

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    Learning from PEDv: Managing disease in manure and mortalities

    The economic impact of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv 9078) on the U.S. swine industry is estimated at around $900 billion annually since it first began infecting herds in the spring of 2013. Research on persistence of the PED virus in manure and mortality compost piles conducted by Dr. Amy Schmidt and her colleagues in the USDA-ARS and the UNL School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences was presented during the November 4th Animal Care Wednesday Webinar by Nicole Schuster, a graduate research assistant in Dr. Schmidt’s lab at UNL.

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    Is Antibiotic Use in Animals a Concern?

    A report released by a group of six consumer interest, public health and environmental organizations raised questions about the use of antibiotics in meat and poultry products offered at 25 of the nation’s largest fast food and fast casual restaurants. The report, entitled “Chain Reaction – How top restaurants rate on reducing use of antibiotics in their meat supply” provides grades to restaurants depending on their ‘Antibiotic Use Policy’.

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    Blister Diseases Causing Trouble for Horses and Pigs This Year

    “Doctor, there’s a veterinarian on the line who wants to talk to you about some blisters he’s seeing in a group of pigs.” That doesn’t sound like a big deal, right? But if you are a regulatory veterinarian – tasked with protecting animal populations from incursions of serious diseases – this is the call you dread taking. The reason for the anxiety has to do with the most feared of foreign animal diseases – Foot and Mouth Disease. The US has not seen FMD since 1929.

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    Ag Employees First Day on the Job vs. Employee Retention

    Many employers complain, including those in agriculture, that they can’t keep people around. Statements such as “we just get them trained and they leave” are common. If this statement is all too familiar, you may need to take a look at your “onboarding” program. Many have heard that statement that “first impressions are lasting impressions”, this is also true when it comes to retention of employees.

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    Stay Healthy at Your Local and State Fair

    As the local county and state fairs start popping up around the Midwest it is time to get out and enjoy the sights, sounds, smells and taste of the fairs. There is nothing more fun than taking the kids to see all of the exhibits and vendors. Particular favorites for most families and young kids is the animal petting zoo or walking through the livestock exhibits. Even though the animals are healthy you still need to help teach your child proper preventative health care around the animals.

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    Preventing Animal-to-Human Diseases at Fairs and Petting Zoos: Ideas from SDSU Students

    Students in the SDSU course that I teach, Animal Diseases and Their Control, were recently asked to think critically about an uncommon but potentially serious public health problem: the movement of germs from animals to people at petting zoos and fairs. Each year, illnesses such as E. coli O157:H7 and cryptosporidiosis are associated with contact between people (often children) and animals on exhibit.

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    An Aid for Preparing Livestock Judging Oral Reasons

    Giving reasons is one of the most useful things you will have the opportunity to do while judging livestock. Preparing and giving reasons helps develop memory and public speaking skills, all while participating in an industry based activity. However, regardless of if you are just starting or at the college level, they can be a tough task to complete and be successful at. This article will give you a better understanding of how to accomplish the experience and score you wish to achieve. 

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    Why Change the State 4-H Livestock Judging Contest

    In my role as Livestock Judging Team Coach as SDSU, I brought forth a proposed restructuring of the State 4-H Livestock Judging Contest which I firmly believe will translate to an experience our youth desperately need. On what do I base this belief? This fall will conclude a three-year stretch of livestock judging teams I have had the pleasure of coaching at South Dakota State University. During these years of rebuilding a program we have seen an increase in student GPAs and collegiate involvement and leadership.  Furthermore, we have had two, top 10 finishes at the North American Livestock Exposition – the national championship contest.

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    Livestock Husbandry & Handling Workshop: Dr. Temple Grandin in Watertown, SD

    South Dakota is a strong agricultural state with large numbers of livestock being raised by farmers and ranchers. On August 5, 2014, Dr. Temple Grandin will be back in South Dakota for the second Raising the Best: Livestock Husbandry and Handling for Today’s Market workshop this summer held in Watertown, SD. This workshop is hosted by South Dakota Farmers Union in partnership with SDSU Extension. The workshop is made possible by a grant through the USDA.

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    Livestock Husbandry & Handling Workshop: Dr. Temple Grandin in Rapid City, SD

    South Dakota is a strong agricultural state with large numbers of livestock being raised by farmers and ranchers. On July 1, 2014, Dr. Temple Grandin will be the feature speaker in Rapid City, SD as part of the Raising the Best: Livestock Husbandry and Handling for Today’s Market. This workshop is hosted by South Dakota Farmers Union in partnership with SDSU Extension. The workshop is made possible by a grant through the USDA.

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    How much room does a pig need?

    Let’s take a moment to consider one of the animal observations from the Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) Site Assessment and its impacts. Recommendations exist in facility planning books about the square footage for an animal at each phase of production. However, these recommendations are simply a starting point at achieving animal comfort and maximizing the efficiency of your building. The challenge we sometimes forget is that recommendations are formed based on some assumptions and certain sizes of animals.

    Read More »

    How Do Genetics Impact Animal Well-Being?

    During the October Animal Care Wednesday Webinar, Dr. Michael Gonda, South Dakota State University Associate Professor of Animal Genetics, discussed the difficult topic of the impacts that genetic technologies have on food animal farming and ranching. Genetic engineering (GE) refers to the insertion, deletion, or modification of a specific region of DNA in an organism.

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    Drought

    As South Dakota's farmers, ranchers and communities deal with the challenges brought on by drought conditions impacting more than half the state, SDSU Extension is connecting individuals with resources and research-based information.

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    Livestock Shows & Drug Testing: Procedures & best practices

    State and county livestock shows may require drug testing of exhibited animals to ensure a level playing field and food safety. During the May 4th Animal Care Wednesday Webinar, Mike Anderson, Iowa State University’s State 4-H Livestock Program Specialist, shared his experience with youth livestock shows, and provided practical procedures and best practices for individuals implementing, or considering drug testing for livestock shows.

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    Show Animals: Challenges at the packer

    Why do youth livestock show animals require extra paperwork when marketed to a packer? The April 6th speaker for the Animal Care Wednesday Webinar was Paula Alexander, Project Manager of Tyson’s Sustainable Food Production and Food Safety Quality Assurance. She outlined some of the basic challenges and what steps a packer takes to address the challenges.

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    Maximize Your Best Asset – Your Employees

    There never seems to be a slow time around a farm or ranch. The to do list is always there, and as a result farm owners and managers who oversee employees and or work alongside family members sometimes can overlook how important it is to allocate time to enhance the skills and abilities of those who work for you. There are great opportunities year round, such as tours, field days and seminars employers can take advantage of as continued educational opportunities for your employees.

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    The Power of Meat Labels and Marketing

    We all have bought meat products of some kind from a grocery store or local butcher. However, were you aware of all the statements and logos on that package and what they meant in terms of their impact on the dollar value of the product you purchased? During the March 2nd Animal Care Wednesday Webinar, Dr. Bryon Wiegand, a Professor and Meat Science Extension Specialist at the University of Missouri, discussed the value of meat products and their label claims.

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    Ag Employees First Day on the Job vs. Employee Retention

    Many employers complain, including those in agriculture, that they can’t keep people around. Statements such as “we just get them trained and they leave” are common. If this statement is all too familiar, you may need to take a look at your “onboarding” program. Many have heard that statement that “first impressions are lasting impressions”, this is also true when it comes to retention of employees.

    Read More »

    Impacting the Perfect Harvest

    The Animal Care Wednesday Webinars kicked off another year on January 6th. This year’s theme is “Husbandry Practices in the Spotlight”. The first webinar focused on the well-being challenges that arise when livestock are taken from the farm for processing to a harvest facility of any size.

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