July 15, 2004
July 15, 2004 --
USDA Establishes Loan Project Regarding Energy Production from Cattle Products
Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman announced May 17, 2004, a new loan guarantee pilot project aimed at developing renewable energy systems from the use of cattle products as a raw material.
"This program will provide guaranteed loans for rural small businesses to develop the means to effectively destroy these specified risk materials from cattle while providing a bio-based source of energy," Veneman says.
In January, USDA expanded the list of specified risk materials prohibited in the food supply as an additional firewall to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). In addition, the Food and Drug Administration announced its intent to prohibit specified risk materials in food regulation by the agency.
The maximum amount of total loan guarantees under the pilot program will be $50 million. USDA anticipates up to three awards will be made. There is no dollar restriction associated with any one award, provided the amount requested is within the $50 million allocated.
Notice of the funding availability appeared in the May 18 Federal Register and can be accessed at http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/14mar20010800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2004/04-11244.htm
on the World Wide Web.
ANR Board Meets to Revise, Merge Sheep/Goat Nutrient Publications
Members of the National Academies Committee on the Nutrient Requirements of Small Ruminants met in late May to begin revising two publications, Nutrient Requirements of Sheep and Nutrient Requirements of Goats, last updated in 1985 and 1981, respectively.
The new report, Nutrient Requirements of Small Ruminants, is anticipated to be released summer 2005.
The 11-member group is conducting a thorough review of the reports, which are comprised of scientific literature and data on nutrient requirements of small ruminants for all life phases and types of sheep and goat production as well as those of other small ruminants. The effects of the environment, feed additives and metabolism modifiers on nutrient requirements all will be addressed.
The two reports will be merged into one comprehensive document.
The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) has worked with the academy on the project for several years, by encouraging its undertaking and by helping to secure funding. Also assisting with the project are Montana State University, New Mexico State University, Texas A&M University, the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Co-op State Research Education and Extension Service.
ASI Executive Board member Dr. Lyndon Irwin of Missouri is serving as a liaison representative for the project.
The committee's next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 18-19, 2004, in Irvine, Calif.
To view committee membership or provide comments on the project, visit http://www4.nas.edu/webcr.nsf/CommitteeDisplay/BANR-O-02-05-A?OpenDocument
on the World Wide Web.
United States, Japanese BSE Technical Working Group Meets
An important step in restoring beef trade between the United States and Japan occurred in late May with the first meeting of the United States/Japanese BSE Technical Working Group in Japan.
"Over the past two days, we and our Japanese counterparts have engaged in a frank and open dialogue on our respective BSE surveillance and control systems," says Dr. Peter Fernandez, chairman, U.S. BSE Technical Working Group associate administrator with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Discussion topics included BSE, specified risk materials, surveillance, feed bans and country-risk categorization.
"We found many areas where we are in agreement, and some areas where further discussion is needed," says Fernandez. "This meeting has been very productive and provided a good start to the process."
USDA Certifies Five New Labs
Five additional state laboratories have been certified to assist in the surveillance program for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The labs, located in Florida, Minnesota, Kansas, Kentucky and Pennsylvania, will receive federal funding on a per-test basis.
The five labs are in addition to seven labs previously announced by USDA on March 29. All of the labs are part of an existing network of state and federal labs that assist USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service with animal disease testing as needed.
Expanded BSE Testing Initiated
The U.S. Department of Agriculture began on June 1, 2004, its expanded testing program for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, with the goal of testing between 200,000 and 260,000 cattle for the disease over the next 18 months.
According to Meatingplace.com and the Associated Press, officials reported no problems handling the increased load of samples that came in to the newly approved regional testing laboratories.
The expanded testing program was announced in March and replaced an initial increase in testing announced in January that would have doubled the number of animals tested to 40,000 from 20,000 the year before.