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National Hog Farmer


central-filling-and-freeze-drying-department-at-biosciences-center-boxmeer-artist-impression-lowres.jpg Boxmeer (the Netherlands), November 9, 2010 – Today, Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health announced that it has opened a specialized filling and freeze-drying unit for veterinary vaccines at its Biosciences Center Boxmeer in the Netherlands. The opening of the Central Filling and Freeze-drying Department was performed by her Royal Highness Princess Máxima of the Netherlands in the presence of His Excellency the Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, Maxime Verhagen, and other guests.

The extension of the Central Filling and Freeze-drying Department, of which the construction started in September 2008 at a total investment of US$ 18 Million (€ 13 Million), has been designed to meet the latest requirements related to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) and brings all freeze-dried vaccine activities at Biosciences Center Boxmeer together in one building. In the state-of-the-art facility, the latest technology has been implemented, e.g. rapid transfer port technology to connect the filling line to the vaccine bulk tank as well as fully automated systems for the loading of the freeze-dryer.

“With this significant investment into the new unit here in Boxmeer we ensure the high standards and efficient manufacturing process at this important facility in our manufacturing network and enable the people that work here to continue contributing to the success of our growing vaccine business”, says Malte Greune, Senior Vice-President Animal Health Manufacturing.

Helmut Finkler, Chairman Animal Health Operations The Netherlands adds: “The extension of the Central Filling and Freeze-drying Department allows to further leverage the existing know-how and expertise at the Biosciences Center Boxmeer and is another element on our journey “Fit for the Future” as a leading Biotech site within our industry. It also underlines the long-term commitment of the company to this location.”

The new filling line has a maximum speed of 24,000 glass vials per hour and the freeze-dryer can process 136,000 vials per batch. The Central Filling and Freeze-drying Department employs approximately 65 people and produces primarily freeze-dried vaccines for companion animals (dogs, cats), cattle, swine, horses and poultry. The new unit has been certified last July and vaccine production of market batches started in September 2010.

To address the specific regional needs for veterinary medicines, Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health operates 28 manufacturing sites in 14 countries distributed over 5 continents. Of these, Biosciences Center Boxmeer is a global lead site which produces vaccines and pharmaceutical products against bacterial, parasitological, and viral infections in cattle, sheep, swine, poultry, fish and companion animals. The company markets more than 350 licensed vaccines of which more than 100 are manufactured in Boxmeer. The company continuously invests in its operations to accommodate growth and to ensure that it meets GMP and other standards as well as the most stringent environmental requirements.

About Biosciences Center Boxmeer

Biosciences Center Boxmeer is the largest R&D and manufacturing site for (veterinary) vaccines in the Dutch pharmaceutical industry. Based in Boxmeer, the Netherlands, it is also home of the Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health international headquarters as well as the Dutch sales office. The site has approximately 1,900 employees, and with more than 600 of these having a higher professional or university education, Biosciences Center Boxmeer is a true international center of excellence for R&D, manufacturing, logistics, marketing and sales of veterinary medicines. Furthermore, Biosciences Center Boxmeer hosts a laboratory school where, in collaboration with Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, students are educated for a career in laboratory sciences.

About Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health

Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, based in Boxmeer, the Netherlands, is focused on the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of animal health products. The company offers customers one of the broadest, most innovative animal health portfolios, including products to prevent, treat and control disease in all major farm and companion animal species as well as products for reproduction management. Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health; subsidiaries of Merck & Co. Inc., Whitehouse Station NJ, USA. For more information, visit

About Merck

Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit


GIPSA Rule Would Hurt Oklahoma, Nation, Expert Economist Warns

The author of an economic analysis of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s controversial livestock marketing rule warns in an op-ed article in The Oklahoman this week that the plan will slash jobs in Oklahoma and throughout the United States.

According to John Dunham, president of John Dunham & Associates, the proposed Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) livestock procurement rule could dismantle partnerships between livestock producers and meat packers. He says if the rule is enacted it would cost Oklahoma 2,200 jobs, with lost wages accounting for almost $56 million, with the total economic loss exceeding $258 million. The United States would lose 104,000 jobs and approximately $14 billion in revenue, much of which is spent in small towns and rural areas.

“It’s hard to imagine how a rule that imposes additional costs on rural America could help the farm economy in any way. In fact, it is hard to fathom why the federal government would promulgate a policy that would cost this country any jobs given the current state of the economy,” says Dunham.

The editorial pointed out that even USDA’s own economic data from 2007 suggested that changes such as those proposed by the new rule could cost consumers and producers $60 billion over the next 10 years. Oklahoma residents would pay $25.6 million more for their meat products.

“From an economic and practical standpoint, when I look at the scope of the proposed rule and the amount of damage it will inflict on America’s meat and poultry industry, which generates $832.4 billion annually to the U.S. economy, or roughly 6% of the entire gross domestic product, it convinces me that the rule should not be implemented,” Dunham concludes.

Dunham’s study was commissioned by the American Meat Institute. Results may be viewed at

NPPC Urges Resolution Of Korean Trade Spat

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) expresses disappointment that the United States and South Korea failed to resolve issues on beef and automobiles that could have paved the way for completion of a free trade agreement (FTA).

The two nations had hoped to resolve their differences before the conclusion of this week’s G-20 economic meeting in Seoul, South Korea. The U.S.-South Korea FTA was signed in June 2007 and must be approved by both the U.S. Congress and the South Korean National Assembly.

“America’s pork producers and all of U.S. agriculture need the two sides to reach agreement quickly on the remaining issues so that Congress can act soon to pass the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement,” says NPPC President Sam Carney, a pork producer from Adair, IA. “This would be the biggest trade agreement ever for the U.S. pork industry. It would be good for agriculture, good for business and good for the U.S. economy. If the two sides don’t act quickly, I am very concerned that the FTA will be overtaken by the presidential election cycle.”

Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes says by the end of the FTA’s 10-year phase-in period that total U.S. pork exports to South Korea will be almost 600,000 metric tons. A metric ton is equal to 1.1 U.S. short tons. The FTA will improve U.S. hog prices by $10/head and generate $687 million in U.S. pork exports. South Korea would absorb 5% of U.S. pork production and the FTA would create more than 9,000 new direct jobs in the U.S. pork industry.

U.S. pork exports to South Korea through August were $128 million in value, a 16% decline from 2009, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. By value, South Korea is the United States’ fifth-largest pork export market.

South Korea has in place or is negotiating 13 other trade agreements with 50 countries – some of whom are U.S. competitors. Because of those, if the U.S.-South Korea FTA falls through, Iowa State’s Hayes predicts the U.S. pork industry will be out of the Asian market in 10 years.

“We can’t let that happen,” responds Carney. “Our livelihoods and U.S. jobs depend on trade and on maintaining and expanding markets. The Obama administration needs to resolve the outstanding issues in the FTA, then lawmakers need to approve the deal as soon as possible.”

New Agricultural Alliance Places Priority on Image, Public Education

Enhancing the image of agriculture and public trust in the nation’s food supply are two guiding principles behind the formation of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA). The new alliance includes leading farm and ranch groups.

There is a growing need for all of agriculture to coordinate their messages and reach out even further to the consuming public through consumer influencers and thought leaders.

“We in production agriculture recognize the immediate need to build consumer trust in today’s U.S. food production system,” says USFRA Chairman Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “We also recognize the need to maintain and enhance the freedom of American farmers and ranchers to operate in an economical, sustainable and responsible manner. This new collaborative and coordinated effort by many segments of production agriculture can tell our great story as never before.”

Initial goals of the alliance:

  • Increase consumer confidence in today’s agriculture.
  • Serve as a resource to food companies on the benefits of today’s agricultural production.
  • Work with leading health, environment and dietary organizations to demonstrate the benefits of today’s agricultural production.
  • Increase the role of the U.S. farmer as the voice of animal and crop production on local, state and national food issues.

“This is an exciting time for U.S. agriculture. It represents the first time all of production agriculture has come together for a common purpose,” says Stallman. “It won’t be easy. Changing consumer perceptions is a big challenge. We plan to use our strategic vision to focus our energies.”

Currently, 23 farm and ranch organizations have joined the alliance to pool resources. Included among the group are the National Pork Board represented by Michigan pork producer Dale Norton and the National Pork Producers Council represented by Dallas Hockman.

Investigating Antibiotics in Water, Manure

The Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center (LPELC) of eXtension says a new study focuses on the use and occurrence of antibiotics on dairy farms and in forage fields that receive manure. A team of researchers determined that compounds differed in their occurrence throughout the farm, but that most were constrained to farm boundaries. The article is published in the Journal of Environmental Science & Technology.

Four seasonal sampling campaigns were conducted on two dairies. A variety of antibiotics were used at both farms, leading to antibiotics excretion of several hundred grams per farm per day. Sulfonamides, tetracyclines, and their epimers/isomers, and lincomycin were most frequently detected by the researchers. The most frequent antibiotic detections were associated with lagoons, hospital pens and calf hutches. When detected below ground, tetracyclines were mainly found in soils, whereas sulfonamides were found in shallow groundwater reflecting key differences in their physicochemical properties, according to the researchers.

In manure lagoons, 10 compounds were detected, including tetracyclines and trimethoprim. Of these 10, sulfadimethoxine, sulfamethazine and lincomycin were found in shallow groundwater directly under the lagoons. Antibiotics were sporadically detected in field surface samples on fields with manure applications, but not in underlying sandy soils. Sulfadimethoxine and sulfamethazine were detected in shallow groundwater near field flood irrigation gates, but at highly attenuated levels.

Read about the study online at

New Economic Report Projects Huge Losses from GIPSA Plan

An economic analysis of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) livestock procurement rule estimates a $1.5 billion reduction in U.S. annual gross domestic product, leading to a call for USDA to withdraw the much-assailed plan.

Informa Economics prepared an economic analysis for the National Meat Association (NMA) and other industry groups. Their report projected a loss of nearly 23,000 jobs and $359 million in tax revenues, supported by expected reductions in marketing agreements that generate premiums and related declines in demand for beef, pork and poultry.

A similar study funded last month by the American Meat Institute projected the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) proposal would cost the gross domestic product $14 billion, $1.36 billion in lost tax revenue and 104,000 U.S. jobs.

Both studies provide a sharp contrast with GIPSA’s analysis that the proposed rules would cost less than $100 million, below the threshold that would mandate USDA conduct a further economic impact study.

At a news conference Wednesday in Kansas City, Rob Murphy, senior vice president for Informa, said that the indirect costs, such as lost efficiencies and damage to demand, are where real losses occur: $800 million annually in beef, $335 million per year in pork and $341 million per year in poultry.

“Beef will suffer the most in terms of what we like to describe as demand destruction as packers pull back on use of alternative marketing agreements,” Murphy said. The costs for all species will be in effect for 10 years, peaking at about the third or fourth year following implementation.

Informa predicted as a result of the GIPSA rule that packers will reduce marketing agreements to avoid the potential legal liability due to a provision in the rule that makes it easier for contractors to sue packers for paying different prices to different contractors.

The NMA, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council and National Turkey Federation called on USDA to withdraw the proposed rule and start the process over.

The Informa study will be sent to the Office of Management and Budget for consideration.

Best Manure Application Rate, Safe Handling Emphasized

Fall is prime time for application of manure to be used as a crop fertilizer. Post-harvest time is here and equipment and fields have been readied for manure application.

Iowa State University (ISU) offers resources for producers and manure applicators covering a variety of topics. One of the most important components of application is determining the best rates. ISU nutrient management specialists urge manure applicators to properly sample the manure and appropriately apply it based on recommended crop nutrient needs. Information regarding sampling, including when and how to sample manure, is available in the ISU Extension publication entitled, “How to Sample Manure for Nutrient Analysis,” (PM1558) available at this URL at no charge:

Manure pit fires and explosions, while not common, are well-documented in Iowa and throughout the Midwest. Those who work in and with pit pumping should continue to use caution while agitating and pumping from the pits. See an ISU Extension news release with a list of safety reminders at

A 15-minute safety video, “Foaming and Deep-Pit Manure Pumping Safety,” was produced with funding from Iowa Pork Producers Association, the Iowa Manure Management Action Group and Iowa State University. See the video at

Ag Groups Concerned about Water Quality Regulations

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) has joined 29 agricultural and forestry organizations in submitting comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding water quality regulations it is proposing for the Chesapeake Bay. The comments outline the agriculture and forestry community’s concerns with the EPA’s draft of total maximum daily load (TMDL) requirements, while calling attention to the significant contributions agriculture has made toward improving Chesapeake Bay water quality.

“The agriculture community supports water quality protection and is taking action at the ground level to prevent pollutants from reaching waterways. In fact, even EPA’s data shows that since 1985, the agriculture community has reduced phosphorus loadings by over 21%, nitrogen loadings by 27% and sediment loadings by 24% within the (Chesapeake) Bay watershed,” says Ford B. West, president of TFI.

TFI says that EPA’s models do not account for many of the voluntary agricultural and forestry practices that are currently being employed in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, therefore the draft TMDL fails to acknowledge the successful efforts of the agricultural community and others. The comments also criticize the EPA’s failure to provide sufficient information for the public regarding the draft TMDL and the models used to develop the requirements.

“By withholding adequate information regarding TMDL, EPA has inhibited the agriculture community’s ability to properly evaluate and comment on the requirements,” West says. “The agency has also made it difficult for policy makers and the public to understand the magnitude of the economic and social impacts of the draft TMDL and this has prevented a meaningful dialogue about the costs, benefits, and trade-offs among various policy choices.”

In addition, the agricultural groups’ comments suggest that EPA is stepping outside of the authority it has been granted by the Clean Water Act in order to impose the draft TMDL. Read more about TFI’s stance online at

Ten Steps Toward Tackling Livestock Emissions

The recent International Greenhouse Gases and Animal Agriculture Conference (GGAA) in Banff, Alberta, Canada, brought together more than 400 scientists and top minds in the nutrient management and greenhouse gas emissions realm from about 40 countries. A summary at the end of the conference highlighted 10 key steps for managing greenhouse gases. The steps were outlined by the chairpersons of each of the sessions held during the conference.

  1. Avoid a one-size-fits-all mindset. The options for manure management are one example where many approaches are coming into play, including a variety of housing, grazing, storage and treatment application options. The progress is exciting, yet the experts agree that there is no one solution that fits all. “Options are good but we need them presented in a way that allows farmers to make decisions to best meet their individual needs,” says Elizabeth Pattey, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, who chaired a session on atmospheric emissions and biogas capture.
  2. Use better measuring sticks in research. It is important that the newly developed field of greenhouse gases related to animal agriculture continually improves and coordinates the approach to measuring emissions, says Mark Powell, USDA, Madison, WI. He identified several key questions such as: How do we mimic natural conditions? How do we make sense of the measurements that we make? How do we reconcile and interpret results from individual animal studies and those involving herds and plots? “There’s a need to agree on the most important reporting factors that will be useful for practical applications and also to guide research,” he says. Powell chaired a session on emission measurement.
  3. Look for win-wins situations. Michael Kreuzer of ETH in Zurich, Switzerland, chaired a session on mitigation strategies for enteric methane. One promising example of a win-win approach is dietary strategies that incorporate oils or oilseeds to reduce emissions. A number of these approaches may also improve the health value of resulting livestock products. “There is an incredible number of new studies and options emerging from this dietary area,” Kreuzer says. “One of the favorites that is holding up well is feeding linseed or flaxseed that contains oil. This has the additional advantage of increasing omega-3 fatty acids in milk and meat, which is desirable from a human health perspective.” Many GGAA presenters emphasized that emissions reduction strategies that are not only effective at reducing emissions but also practical and economically feasible for producers are the most important win-win of all.
  4. Anchor strategies in the rumen. “What produces methane is the microbial population in the rumen, so all of our strategies have got to have a clear anchoring in the rumen,” says Jamie Newbold of Aberystwyth University, Wales. Newbold chaired a session on microbial ecology and says enormous progress has been made in the technology used to describe the rumen microbial ecology, which is driving new approaches to mitigation. “One of the keys for further progress is to move toward describing the functional genomics of metabolic inhibitors. As we get into understanding that, our ability to design new mitigation methods will increase dramatically,” he says.
  5. Take advantage of heritability. One of the standout new opportunities highlighted at the conference was the apparent heritability of methane production among animal genetic lines, according to Newbold. “This is enormously exciting. I think we’ve got to drill down to that over the next three years. That’s going to require collaboration between laboratories and very much between countries as we try to get the datasets large enough to really make strong progress.”
  6. Invest in modeling research to spur broad progress. Modeling livestock greenhouse gas emissions is an area of science focused on the complex task of understanding and replicating the sophisticated livestock emissions dynamic. It is also a lynchpin that supports many areas of research and applied strategies and needs to continue as a high priority area for future work, says Odd Magne Harstad of the Norwegian Institute of Life Sciences, Norway. “Enteric methane is a very important source of greenhouse gas. It is therefore very important to model livestock greenhouse gas emissions as accurately as possible, and it is critical that this area of research continues as a high priority in the future,” Harstad says.
  7. Engage the developing world. A significant point made during the conference session on big-picture issues was that the majority of livestock emissions come from developing countries that don’t have the luxury of focusing on emissions mitigation strategies. Unfortunately, these countries are also typically not well-represented in science forums, such as GGAA. “These are the countries where most of the population growth is predicted to occur over the next 40 years, and where additional food production will have to take place to meet their needs,” says Richard Eckard, University of Melbourne, Australia, who chaired this session. “This is a challenge for us, because these are countries that are rightly more concerned about where their next meal will come from. We have a responsibility to engage more with these countries, to help them adopt the appropriate technologies and strategies as they become available.”
  8. Don’t ignore the elephant in the room. One of the compelling issues discussed at the conference was how to achieve net reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, while more than doubling food production by 2050 to feed the world’s population. “Most of us in research are fairly reticent in making statements on such issues,” Eckard says. “It’s a forum such as this that should be sending a message to our policy colleagues, not to expect net global reductions in emissions from agriculture by 2050, while we have to double food production in the same time.” He points out that many of the papers at the conference demonstrate that emissions can be reduced per unit of food produced and efficiency can be improved, but doubling food production in the next 40 years will mean a net increase in emissions from agriculture. “The world needs realistic targets and balanced strategies. We can’t let this become the elephant in the room that we avoid confronting,” Eckard says.
  9. Fix the metrics. Conference attendees say scientists need to deliver the important message to policy makers that benchmarks and targets for agricultural emissions shouldn’t be measured on the same metrics as those used for the fossil fuel industry. “Agriculture is unique. With fossil fuels, there are options to drive the adoption of alternatives. There is no alternative to food,” Eckard relates.

    A key presentation during the conference pointed out the world needs to take into account the multiple, and often unvalued, benefits from livestock production systems and not focus on single issues. “We need to develop different metrics for agriculture that are more appropriate to measure our progress towards more efficient food production, with less greenhouse gases (versus) business as usual. Focusing just on emissions intensity or absolute emissions is not the solution,” Eckard states.
  10. Get aggressive at all levels. Throughout the conference there was an emphasis on the need for the scientific community to ensure the policymakers have a clear understanding of realistic opportunities, challenges and timeframes for science-driven progress. “We need to be clear about what can be achieved and even what can’t be achieved over the next 40 years,” Eckard says. There is a need for more ambitious research that brings livestock management more closely in tune with needs and nuances of a regreening earth. “Tinkering at the edges with incremental gains will not get us there in 40 years’ time,” he concludes.
Read more about the GGAA conference online at

Iowa State Hires New Ag Dean for 2011

Iowa State Hires New Ag Dean for 2011

Lisa Nolan, DVM, will become the new dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine of Iowa State University (ISU) effective Jan. 15, 2011. Nolan is professor and associate dean of research and graduate studies in ISU’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

She replaces John Thomson, DVM, who is retiring as dean but will remain on the ISU faculty, focusing on outcomes-based medicine and best production animal practices.

“I am very excited to work with Dr. Nolan,” says Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Hoffman. “She has been an excellent department chair and associate dean, as well as an outstanding scholar, who has brought great distinction to the college and the university. Under her leadership, we look to the college to enhance its research and educational excellence, building on the outstanding work of John Thomson in fundraising, facilities and faculty hires.”

Nolan received her DVM degree, and a master’s and PhD in medical microbiology from the University of Georgia, Athens.

Besides authoring many research publications, Nolan was named distinguished educator of the year by North Dakota State University’s Blue Key National Honor Fraternity in 2001.