ADS 4221: Swine Group Press Release

All it takes for the public view to change is one misconception. One agriculture sector where these misconceptions have occurred is in the swine industry. Any agriculture sector has its own public misunderstandings. However, the swine industry may have the most. From housing quarters, disease prevention, and waste removal, the media and other sources have blown these issues out of proportion by providing misinformation to the public. It is the responsibility of Animal Scientists and producers to combat these negative views with the facts.

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Our group decided to explore the truth behind waste disposal methods in the swine industry. When researching articles about swine waste removal, we found many different articles recording false facts about the swine industry such as how the “s  wine waste is poured into a pool to rot before being emptied into human water sources and sprayed onto crops for human consumption.” There is also a belief that harmful gases are being released from the large amounts of waste products. We believe that it is our job to educate the public how producers actually dispose of waste products.SWINE1

According to the Journal of Animal Science in an article by Miner, the most common practice for disposing of waste is by using an anaerobic lagoon. Well-designed lagoons have three functions: first, they are a location for bacteria to decompose the organic waste, much like a household septic system. Secondly, a lagoon provides a convenient storage place for treated waste until it is appropriate to apply the material to cropland. Lastly, a lagoon allows there to be absolutely no runoff from the facility. An anaerobic lagoon allows for no waste materials to be taken off the farm. After the water is applied to the cropland, all chemicals are absorbed by the plants and converted into nutrients that can be used as food for livestock animals.

It is our job as animal scientists and producers to educate the public about our business. If we are able to use media as positive reinforcement of our industry rather than negative media sources, we can turn the media around to be beneficial to our industry rather than harm it.

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Latham Brister, Jessica Cowley, Chelsea Feathers, Blaire Fleming, Ethan Sutherland, and Taylor Tate

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ADS 4221: Beef Group Press Release

  Growth hormones provide more beef, less cattle

MISSISSIPPI STATE– Mississippi State University animal science students advocate the use of growth promoting hormone implants in beef cattle production.

The use of growth hormones in the cattle industry is an issue causing mass skepticism among American consumers. For decades, beef producers have relied on growth hormone implants to improve feed efficiency and enhance lean yield of their herd. By repartitioning nutrients to muscle growth instead of fat deposition, these hormones enable producers to finish their cattle earlier and, thus, conserve natural resources. Production costs for producers decrease by 5-10% from reduced feed requirements alone, while a 40% reduction in greenhouse gases per pound of beef supports the environment. Despite these benefits, public concerns about hormone implants in beef cattle focus on public health and animal welfare.

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This calf enjoys a warm, autumn day in Artesia, MS.

Because the hormones used in growth implants are already present in cattle for normal physiological functioning, all meat products, whether they are “organic” or not, contain hormones. Considering a three ounce serving of beef from an implanted steer has 1.9 nanograms of estradiol and a three ounce serving of beef from a non-implanted calf has 1.3 nanograms, the difference is insignificant and does not account for any negative impacts on animal or human health. Consumers must also be reminded of the strict federal regulatory testing in place to monitor all beef products before they are able to enter commerce. To attest to the minimal stress it causes the cattle, the students met with a local cattle producer to witness the implantation process. The growth hormone implants are released slowly over a period of time in small pellets, which are shot into the ear using an implant gun (shown below).

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This is the tool used to administer growth hormone implants. The white capsule (containing the hormone) gets injected subcutaneously on the backside of the ear of the cattle. Because the ear is discarded at harvest, the implant never enters the food chain.

As Mr. Doug Yelverton, a cattle producer from Artesia, emphasized, “Farmers need to help educate the younger generations, so they know where their food is coming from.” Students hope that openly advocating the research promoting the safety of growth implants in beef cattle, the research refuting harmful public health issues, the positive effects they have on the environment, and the financial benefits trickling down to consumers because of them will ultimately increase the acceptance and confidence consumers have in beef products and display the animal agricultural industry in a more positive light.

“As animal scientists, we must promote the benefits hormone implants serve both environmentally and financially to dissipate these negative perceptions, or our industry will lose the respect it deserves,” explained Jamie Huselton, one of the students determined to educate the public on growth hormone use in cattle.

To learn more, visit the Bost Auditorium on December 4, 2014, at 3 p.m. to view the video presentation created by these students on growth hormone implants in the beef industry.BEEFYelverton

This cattle producer looks at his herd with accomplishment, knowing he has provided them with the best care and necessary resources.