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SAN ANTONIO, TX

Beef cattle producers must be vigilant

Beef cattle producers should be observant when conducting annual health vaccination protocols on their cattle, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts.

Though not a statewide threat, the fever tick has resulted in some herds in far South Texas to be subject to a quarantine zone. This topic, as well as proper vaccination protocol and techniqueswere discussed at the recent Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Convention in San Antonio.

Joe Paschal, AgriLife Extension livestock specialist said fever ticks tend to prefer soft tissue along the dewlap, brisket, forearm and back in the flank area.

“It’s a one-host tick and we can use the cow as a control method. Right now, we can dip or spray the cow. If producers or veterinarians see ticks on cattle that are unusual, even if they are not, they are encouraged to collect those ticks and put them in a little bottle of isopropyl alcohol and send it to Texas Animal Health Commission veterinarians.”

Paschal said if they are identified as fever ticks, “we need to know where they are coming from and get a handle on them.”

The technical name for Texas cattle fever is bovine babesiosis, which relates to the organisms that infect the red blood cells of cattle. It is their destruction of the red blood cells that results in anemia, fever and death.

WAPELLO, IA

Thousands of young turkeys killed in Iowa farm fire

A fire at a turkey farm south of Wapello has killed about 10,700 juvenile turkeys and caused about $300,000 in damages to the building.

The Hawk Eye reports that the fire occurred April 23, when Wapello firefighters were called to Gentle Ben's Turkey Farm. Authorities say a large turkey barn, about 40-foot by 250-foot, was completely consumed by fire by the time firefighters arrived and the building had already collapsed.

Authorities say the fire burned rapidly because of high winds and a heavy covering of sawdust bedding. The cause of this fire has not been determined, but officials say it's not considered suspicious.

No people were injured in the blaze.

SMITHFIELD, VA

Pork producer's aims to grow skin, organs for humans

The world's largest pork producer is entering the business of trying to grow skin and organs for humans. Virginia's Smithfield Foods said in a news release that its new division is called Smithfield Bioscience.

The company already sells its byproducts to firms that produce medicine and supplements. For instance, some of the drugs treat indigestion, thyroid conditions and blood clots.

Smithfield's new division is also among a group of organizations that's figuring out ways to replace tissue for injured soldiers. The public-private initiative is partly funded by the Department of Defense.

Smithfield Bioscience also works with Harvard and Columbia universities on the research and development of immunology therapies.

DAVIS, CA

Woman admits hate crime, bacon left at mosque

A California woman faces up to six years in prison after admitting that she broke windows and left bacon at a mosque near Sacramento.

The Yolo County District Attorney's Office said 30-year-old Lauren Kirk-Coehlo of Davis pleaded guilty to all charges last week. They include two counts of vandalizing the Davis Islamic Center in January and causing more than $400 in damage by destroying six windows and two bicycles.

She also admitted to a hate-crime allegation. Officials say she put bacon strips on door handles. Muslims are prohibited from eating pork products.

ATLANTA, GA

Georgia ends restrictions due to bird flu fears

Officials say they have ended restrictions on poultry producers that were enacted after the first confirmation of avian influenza in commercial birds in Georgia.

News outlets report state veterinarian Robert M. Cobb Jr. said in a news release that effective immediately, all poultry exhibitions, shows, sales, swaps and meets in the State of Georgia are permitted to return back to normal operation.

The restriction was imposed March 16. Authorities said about 18,000 chickens were destroyed at a northwest Georgia poultry farm after tests confirmed the disease in the flock.

The state Department of Agriculture said in a statement the chickens at the Chattooga County commercial farm tested positive for a low-pathogenic strain of avian flu.

Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black office said no infected animal entered the food chain or the food supply.

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