Livestock briefs: Rare form of mad cow disease in AL

Wisconsin State Farmer


Rare form of mad cow disease found in Alabama 

Agriculture officials say a rarely seen form of mad cow disease has been found in Alabama. 

A statement from state Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan says atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy was confirmed in an 11-year-old beef cow. 

The U.S. Agriculture Department says this only the fifth case of the atypical form of the disease being confirmed in the United States. 

McMillan says the animal was discovered during routine screening at a livestock market. The cow wasn't slaughtered and its meat didn't enter the food chain. 

Mad cow disease can spread from byproducts of cud-chewing animals being used in feed, but the state says that's not what happened. The state is calling the discovery a "rare and spontaneous" case of the disease, which can occur in older animals. 


MI Union files complaint over goats butting in 

Is Western Michigan University using goats as scab labor and taking away jobs? One union seems to think so. 

What started as a project to control invasive plants damaging campus woodlots at Western Michigan University has turned into a civil complaint filed by the 400-member American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.

According to AgDaily news, the grievance states that the goats are devouring jobs that laid-off union workers could do on the 16-acre lot. 

While the goats are being used to trim grass, the union has a contract to cut the grass at Western Michigan and says the University should have notified them about the project ahead of time. 

Last year Nick Gooch, WMU horticulturist, proposed bringing goats as a pilot project to campus to test their viability for helping to control invasive plant species infesting campus woodlots, particularly buckthorn, honeysuckle, oriental bittersweet, and poison ivy. 

“The current management practice to combat these species using labor, machinery, and chemical herbicides is labor- and capital-intense and fails to improve the site to allow the native community to achieve balance and restore the ecosystem,” Gooch wrote in his project proposal. 

“Campus woodlots are going to continue to be attacked by invasive species due to the continued use and development of the sites by the campus community. WMU is an ideal place to lead a pilot project using goats for land management that has the potential to build on our already commendable sustainability record.” 


Hutterite colony by Stratford plans to grow swine facility 

A Hutterite colony near Stratford is planning to expand its swine operation. 

The American News reports that an application has been submitted to grow the animal feeding operation by 2,400 head of swine to a total of nearly 10,000 head. 

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources says in a public notice that the facility will also include 770 beef cattle, nearly 150 mature dairy cows and 125 dairy heifers. 

The department is accepting public comments on the proposed expansion through Aug. 19. A Brown County commission would also have to approve the application. 


Angus Foundation Silent Auction raises more than $12,500 

The Angus Foundation raised more than $12,500 on 125 items during the annual silent auction during the 2017 National Junior Angus Show (NJAS) on July 9 -15 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Proceeds from these items help fund support for Angus education, youth and research initiatives. 

“The silent auction always brings out the best in Angus enthusiasts,” says Milford Jenkins, Angus Foundation president. “All of the donated items auctioned off during the event are very special in some way or another, and proceeds from the silent auction are unrestricted in their use, so the Angus Foundation can put those funds toward the education, youth and research efforts that need the most support.” 

Tim and Elizabeth Harsh, Radnor, Ohio, purchased the top-selling item for $550, which was a custom graphite portrait donated by the Wisconsin Junior Angus Association. 

The second-highest selling honor, at $500, went to a Kansas State University football autographed by head coach Bill Snyder donated by the Kansas Junior Angus Association, purchased by Hite du Boize Cattle Co., Valley Center, Kan.     

There were two items that tied for the third-highest selling title at $400 each. Hoover Angus Farm, Ellston, Iowa, bought an oak mirror with cattle designs, donated by Houks Angus, Blakesburg, Iowa. A Penny & James 1955 dispersal sale book, donated by the American Angus Association, was purchased by Kurt and Arlene Schaff, Kansas City, Mo. 


Iowa Couple Named NJAA 2017 Advisors of the Year 

Finding new ways to connect with Iowa juniors is why Chris and Dixie McCormick, Pleasantville, Iowa, were nominated for the Advisors of the Year award through the National Junior Angus Association (NJAA).

The McCormicks were recognized for their leadership, inclusion and encouragement at the National Junior Angus Show in Des Moines, Iowa. 

 “More emphasis has been placed on developing other skills such as public speaking through speech contests, knowledge of the cattle industry through quiz bowl and the presentation and promotion of our state association through the poster and scrapbook contests,” says Haley Greiman, first vice president, Iowa Junior Angus Association. “We have grown with the guidance of Chris and Dixie in more than just the showring.” 

The McCormicks have been very involved in helping to plan the 2017 NJAS in Iowa, leading the junior committees and organizing schedules for the show.

Fundraising, contest organization and meal planning have been handled efficiently under the McCormicks’ leadership, according to a nomination letter. The McCormicks have put all their efforts into improving the quality of the Iowa Junior Angus Association, Greiman adds.