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    YQCA Replaces Youth Pork Quality Assurance Plus (YPQA) Certification

    A new quality assurance program was released in March 2017. This year, the National Pork Board transitioned to Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (YQCA) and will no longer be administering Youth Pork Quality Assurance Plus (YPQA) by the end of 2017.

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    SD Group Attends 2017 North American Manure Expo in Wisconsin

    In preparation for 2018, several members of the South Dakota North American Manure Expo (NAME) planning committee traveled to Arlington, WI on August 22-23 to attend the 2017 Expo, hosted by the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension and partners.

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    ¿Cómo puedes prevenir problemas de salud causados por el calor?

    Se espera que en las próximas semanas haya temperaturas y humedad más altas de lo normal, lo que puede producir un golpe de calor. Esta situación, típica de los meses de verano, es especialmente crítica para todos aquellos que trabajan bajo el sol o están expuestos a condiciones menos favorables en el ambiente de trabajo.

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    Heat Exhaustion & Heat 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. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness."

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    What’s going on with U.S. “Ag Gag” laws?

    During the April 5th Animal Care Wednesday Webinar, we received updates regarding “ag gag” litigation in the United States. Dave Aiken, Agricultural Law Specialist with University of Nebraska-Lincoln, discussed the most recent farm animal legislation trends and cases, which states are involved, and considerations for the sensitive topics.

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    Four Steps to Clear Communication

    The greatest challenge with communication is remembering to do so! Busy times around farms, ranches and agri-business companies, lend us to often forget to actually communicate with those we work with. We think— I’ll just send a text and they will know what project I’m working on. A text can definitely provide an update, but when communication calls for a face-to-face discussion, how can one build an environment conducive to effective communication?

    Read More »

    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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    Odor Management Planning: Survey of producers and the general public

    Odor can be an important point of discussion during livestock development projects across our state. Ms. Suraiya Akter is a Master’s Degree Student in the SDSU Ag & Biosystems Engineering Department. She is developing an odor management plan template for voluntary adoption in the state of South Dakota with her advisors Drs. Erin Cortus and Joe Darrington.

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    SD Group Attends 2017 North American Manure Expo in Wisconsin

    In preparation for 2018, several members of the South Dakota North American Manure Expo (NAME) planning committee traveled to Arlington, WI on August 22-23 to attend the 2017 Expo, hosted by the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension and partners.

    Read More »

    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 »

    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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    Mycotoxin Considerations for Weather-Damaged Feedstuffs

    This growing season has been a challenge across the upper Midwest. Whether your crops have been hit with drought or hail the odds are that we are going to see an increase potential for feed contaminants such nitrates or molds which cause mycotoxins.

    Read More »

    Farm Animal Antibiotic Resistance and Stewardship

    During the February 1st Animal Care Wednesday Webinar, we heard one of the leading experts discuss the challenging social concerns of antibiotic resistance. Michael Apley, Frick Professor of Clinical Sciences with the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, challenged listeners to better understand the difference between judicious use and stewardship of antibiotics by reviewing the many factors involved in epidemiology (study of incidence, distribution, and possible control of diseases).

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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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    YQCA Replaces Youth Pork Quality Assurance Plus (YPQA) Certification

    A new quality assurance program was released in March 2017. This year, the National Pork Board transitioned to Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (YQCA) and will no longer be administering Youth Pork Quality Assurance Plus (YPQA) by the end of 2017.

    Read More »

    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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    SD Group Attends 2017 North American Manure Expo in Wisconsin

    In preparation for 2018, several members of the South Dakota North American Manure Expo (NAME) planning committee traveled to Arlington, WI on August 22-23 to attend the 2017 Expo, hosted by the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension and partners.

    Read More »

    Mycotoxin Considerations for Weather-Damaged Feedstuffs

    This growing season has been a challenge across the upper Midwest. Whether your crops have been hit with drought or hail the odds are that we are going to see an increase potential for feed contaminants such nitrates or molds which cause mycotoxins.

    Read More »

    Bovine Emergency Response Plan (BERP) Program

    The scene of an accident is not the place to build your team! The BERP program was the featured discussion for the May Animal Care Wednesday Webinar. Lisa Pederson with North Dakota State University discussed how and why the program began, who the audience is for the program, and the impact this program is having.

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    Four Steps to Clear Communication

    The greatest challenge with communication is remembering to do so! Busy times around farms, ranches and agri-business companies, lend us to often forget to actually communicate with those we work with. We think— I’ll just send a text and they will know what project I’m working on. A text can definitely provide an update, but when communication calls for a face-to-face discussion, how can one build an environment conducive to effective communication?

    Read More »

    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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    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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