Livestock Blog

Archive for May, 2006

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

County Eyes Changes In Zoning Plan
Yankton Daily Press, SD – 15 hours ago have is also misplaced, Gleich said. Neighbors can easily be riled by large numbers of livestock, he added. “It’s not the number of

WILD Livestock damaging Scotland District
Barbados Advocate, Barbados – May 22, 2006 By Janelle Riley. Stray livestock and fires are among the greatest problems threatening the stability of the Scotland District. Officer

Indonesian govt to keep restrictions on livestock imports – report
Forbes – May 3, 2006 JAKARTA (AFX) – The government will maintain its restrictions on imports of livestock from several countries despite charges that this policy violates

Shelbyville News, IN – May 26, 2006 Harness and tack shop. Sales and repairs. Saddles, new and used. Monday-Saturday, 8 am-5 pm. 244 to 650 W, turn south to 900 S, turn west to shop. Moscow, IN.

175th Suffolk Show starts today
Norfolk Eastern Daily Press, UK – 12 hours ago The two-day show, which is a shop window for the county’s best livestock, food and farming, has attracted a record number of trade exhibitors.

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

No to cutting farm import tariffs (Daily Times)
KREMS: EU agriculture ministers warned the bloc trade chief on Monday not to make a new offer on cutting farm import tariffs to secure a wider World Trade Organization deal, saying Europe had reached its limit. Austrian Agriculture Minister Josef Proell said Europe had already put forward its
In France, farm subsidies trump free trade (Expatica)
ZWETTEL, Austria, May 29, 2006 (AFP) – French Agriculture Minister Dominique Bussereau ruled out changes on Monday to the European Union’s system of farm subsidies, saying he would prefer that the Doha trade talks fail instead.
Women s Agriculture Network Offers Encouragement (Youngstown Daily Business Journal)
May 30, 2006 8:26 a.m. UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Audrey Gay Rodgers has been running the Hameau Farm in the Big Valley for about 25 years. Not only does she raise Scottish Highland and Ayrshire cows, Jacob sheep and Alpine goats, but she also runs a summer camp for girls on the farm.
EU trade chief warned over WTO move on farm tariffs (Gulf Times)
KREMS, Austria: EU agriculture ministers warned the bloc s trade chief yesterday not to make a new offer on cutting farm import tariffs to secure a wider World Trade Organisation deal, saying Europe had reached its limit.
(AFX UK Focus) 2006-05-29 14:34 GMT: France rejects changes to EU farm subsidy system UPDATE (Interactive Investor)
ZWETTEL, Austria (AFX) – French Agriculture Minister Dominique Bussereau ruled out changes to the EU’s system of farm subsidies, saying he would prefer that the WTO trade talks fail instead.
Whose Agriculture is it Anyway? (AG Weekly)
Rumor has it that a grain industry lobbyist recently asked what the immigration debate had to do with agriculture.
France rejects changes to EU farm subsidy system (AFP via Yahoo! News)
French Agriculture Minister Dominique Bussereau has ruled out changes to the European Union’s system of farm subsidies, saying he would prefer that the Doha trade talks fail instead.
France rejects changes to EU farm subsidy system (Financial Express)
ZWETTEL, Austria, May 30 (AFP): French Agriculture Minister Dominique Bussereau ruled out changes yesterday to the European Union’s system of farm subsidies, saying he would prefer that the Doha trade talks fail instead.
Challenges ahead in farm bill debate (Iowa Farmer)
BROOKLYN — Craig Lang is acutely aware of the challenges facing farmers as they begin talking about the next farm bill. As a farmer and as president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, he knows what the legislation means to his business and his family.
WTO sets deadline for tariff and subsidy deal (Financial Times)
Pascal Lamy, director-general of the World Trade Organisation, set an end-of-June deadline on Tuesday for a deal to cut farm subsidies and tariffs on agricultural and industrial goods, warning that global trade talks were running out of time.

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Black Ink: Where it all begins
Beef production is a natural system, but management means not leaving it to the whims of nature.
Pasture preparation
What can we do to make our pastures more productive this growing season? As we are getting our fencing done for the upcoming pasture season is there something we can do to improve the productivity of the pasture?
BeefTalk: Reduce summer stress on calves
May is always a busy time. The fun of the approaching summer, the warm air, occasional rain showers, and cows and calves strolling through the thick, green, cool-season grasses makes one appreciate rural life.

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Low Vitamin D of Young African-Americans

During an earlier study, Charles Stephensen holds one of several sets of results of a lab test. Link to photo information
Charles Stephensen found low levels of vitamin D in young African-Americans. Click the image for more information about it.

Young African-Americans’ Low Vitamin D Levels Reported

By Marcia Wood
May 25, 2006

Low vitamin D levels among young African-Americans participating in a recent study were more common than in several previous investigations, university and Agricultural Research Service (ARS) nutrition experts have found.

The vitamin is essential for strong bones and a robust immune system, according to the study’s lead author, immunologist Charles B. Stephensen. He works at the ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center, located at the University of California, Davis.

Stephensen and his co-investigators have reported their findings in the current issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The scientists based their conclusion on levels of a form of vitamin D in the blood (plasma) of 359 volunteers, aged 15 to 19, tested at sites in 14 American cities. Volunteers were predominantly female African-Americans.

Researchers found that 87 percent of the volunteers had an insufficient amount of what’s known as 25-hydroxyvitamin D in their plasma. Though some earlier studies had suggested that more Americans than was previously estimated may be short of vitamin D, the 87 percent figure was unexpectedly high, according to Stephensen.

People who have levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D at or below 37.5 nanomoles per liter of blood are considered vitamin D-deficient.

Good sources of the nutrient include vitamin D-fortified milk, fatty fish and sunshine, which a natural chemical in skin can convert to a form of the nutrient called previtamin D3.

The study was funded in part by ARS—the U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s chief scientific research agency—and by the National Institutes of Health, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The study volunteers represented a majority of the participants in the federally funded REACH investigation, short for “Reaching for Excellence in Adolescent Health.”

Stephensen worked on the study with colleagues from the University of Southern California at Los Angeles; Iowa State University at Ames; the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Fighting “Brush Fires” With Science

Read the magazine story to find out more.

Close-up of a screwworm larva. Link to photo information
When this unwelcome, flesh-eating “tourist”—the screwworm— turned up in Aruba, ARS helped deport the pest. Click the image for more information about it.

Quelling Trade “Brush Fires” With Science

By Jim De Quattro
May 17, 2006

What do Algeria, Aruba, Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Romania and Vietnam have in common?

All of them have been at the center of a scientific question with trade or other burning international implications for themselves or the United States. And all the questions were resolved through work of the Agricultural Research Service.

While the questions varied, time was always of the essence in settling the situations, according to an article in the May issue of the agency’s Agricultural Research magazine.

In 2000, for example, Brazil banned U.S. wheat imports because of fears of the wheat seed gall nematode. That was serious business, because Brazil is the largest buyer of U.S. wheat in South America. But the ban was lifted in early 2001 after ARS researchers proved to the Brazilians’ satisfaction that the nematodes were not a threat.

According to ARS nematologist David Chitwood, the Brazilians came to ARS because the agency has the most expertise in identifying nematodes and, as a nonregulatory science agency, has nothing at stake in a trade issue.

Lisa Castlebury examines digital image of Epicoccum, a commonly encountered Karnal bunt look-alike. Link to photo information
Algeria stopped a ship from unloading U.S.-grown wheat because it was believed tainted with a devastating wheat fungus. But ARS mycologist Lisa Castlebury proved the culprit was a harmless lookalike, shown here on the computer screen. Click the image for more information about it.

Among a half-dozen other episodes of quick-acting international research in recent years, the magazine cites:

  • In March 2004, Aruba had an outbreak of screwworm, a painful parasite that can infest almost any warm-blooded animal–from livestock to tourists. But by October, ARS’ sterile-insect-release technology had eliminated screwworms from the small Caribbean island–just as it had worked earlier with international cooperators to eliminate the pest from the United States, Mexico and almost every country in Central America.
  • In 2002, China notified the World Trade Organization about new tests for gauging the quality of cotton fiber imports. But ARS analyses of the tests persuaded Chinese officials not only to postpone use of the new tests, but also to move toward modernizing that nation’s cotton classification system.

ARS is the chief scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Quicker Test for Turkey Viruses

Healthy young turkeys. Link to photo information
Healthy young turkeys. Click the image for more information about it.

A Quicker, Cheaper Test for Turkey Viruses

By Sharon Durham
May 23, 2006

A new, highly sensitive diagnostic test to detect viruses associated with poult enteritis complex, or PEC, has been developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Athens, Ga. This disease of young turkeys causes diarrhea, poor weight gain and, in some cases, high mortality.

Microbiologists Erica Spackman and Darrell Kapczynski developed the test in a format that allows the detection of several types of viruses at one time. Spackman works in the ARS Endemic Poultry Viral Diseases Research Unit, and Kapczynski is in the Exotic and Emerging Avian Viral Disease Research Unit. Both units are part of the ARS Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory. The scientists collaborated on the research with Holly Sellers of the University of Georgia.

The test relies on a molecular technique called real-time reverse transcription- polymerase chain reaction (RRT-PCR), which is a highly sensitive and specific method for detecting viral RNA. Current diagnostic methods for PEC-associated viruses have limitations because of poor analytic specificity and sensitivity.

The researchers inoculated turkey poults with each of the PEC-associated viruses and later collected intestinal tissue samples and cloacal swabs from the experimentally infected birds. The RRT-PCR test showed high sensitivity, accurately detecting the target viruses in both the tissues and swabs.

While intestinal samples have previously been essential to making a definitive PEC diagnosis, the researchers found that cloacal samples—which are easier to collect and process—were just as suitable for testing. Using them will not only save time and money, it will also eliminate the need to euthanize birds for sampling.

The PEC-test technology has been provided to several laboratories for diagnostic use, and the research team is now working on adapting the RRT-PCR technique to diagnose related diseases in chickens.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s principal scientific research agency.

Cleanup Help for a Chesapeake Watershed

Laura McConnell and Jennifer Harman-Fetcho examine oysters. Link to photo information
For an earlier study, ARS chemists Laura McConnell (left) and Jennifer Harman-Fetcho collect Choptank River oysters to be analyzed for agricultural chemicals. Click the image for more information about it.

New Grant to Help Clean Up Chesapeake Watershed

By Sharon Durham
May 19, 2006

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are part of a consortium that has received an $800,000 research grant to implement farming management practices that could improve water quality in the Choptank River watershed, which drains into the Chesapeake Bay. ARS is the chief scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The consortium received the funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation via its Chesapeake Bay Targeted Watersheds Grant Program.

The consortium includes ARS, the Maryland Department of Agriculture, Caroline Soil Conservation District, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the University of Maryland-Extension Service, the University of Maryland’s Horn Point Laboratory, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, public drainage associations and local farmers.

Chemist Laura L. McConnell, who works in the ARS Environmental Management and Byproduct Utilization Laboratory at Beltsville, Md., and soil scientist Gregory W. McCarty in the ARS Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, also at Beltsville, are leading the ARS component of the project.

Both labs are part of the ARS Henry A. Wallace Beltsville (Md.) Agricultural Research Center, which is part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed that includes about 64,000 square miles in six states. The Chesapeake is the nation’s largest fresh water estuary.

Agriculture is the primary land use in the Choptank River watershed, accounting for 58 percent of the land. ARS scientists, along with the rest of the consortium, aim to enroll 6,000 acres per year in a commodity cover crop as a pilot program to study the feasibility of large- scale implementation of this strategy in the Choptank watershed.

By implementing this program, the consortium estimates a short-term reduction of 30,000 pounds per year of potential nitrogen loading into the Choptank River. Installation of drainage controls will reduce potential nitrogen loading by an additional 1,600 pounds per year, and will also help establish new wetlands and enhance wildlife habitat.

Protein Protects Against Mastitis

GEM, a transgenic dairy cow. Link to photo information
In ARS lab studies, a new two-in-one recombinant protein was developed, which kills several bacteria known to cause mastitis in dairy cows. Last year ARS reported success by a different research team in producing transgenic cows (including “GEM,” above) that were protected against a single major cause of mastitis, the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. Click the image for more information about it.

Novel Antimicrobials Protect Against Mastitis-Causing Bacteria

By Rosalie Marion Bliss
May 24, 2006

An Agricultural Research Service (ARS)-led team has combined specific DNA segments from two different sources to produce a novel antimicrobial protein. The resulting “fusion” antimicrobial protein degrades the cell walls of several bacterial pathogens in a solution of whey extracted from cow’s milk.

Agriculturally, the technology provides a key step to developing dairy cows that have a natural, built-in defense against mastitis—a disease that costs U.S. dairy producers up to $2 billion annually.

In the realm of infectious disease, one way to reduce microbial resistance that results from widespread antibiotic use is to come up with new ways to fight pathogens. The findings from this experimental study were published in the April 2006 issue of Applied Environmental Microbiology.

David M. Donovan, a molecular biologist at the ARS Biotechnology and Germplasm Laboratory at Beltsville, Md., presented the study’s results today at the American Society for Microbiology‘s 2006 annual meeting, in Orlando, Fla. ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s chief scientific research agency.

Donovan is the named inventor on a USDA/ARS-filed patent application that describes the technology behind fusing the protein-coding DNA sequences that produce the novel fusion antimicrobial. He and colleagues from Birmingham, Ala., and Quebec, Canada, hope to use the technology to produce fusion proteins as alternatives to the use of broad-range antibiotics both in clinics and on farms.

While all milk contains several naturally occurring antimicrobial proteins, such as lysozyme and lactoferrin, the sale of milk containing the fusion protein would first require rigorous food safety testing and federal regulatory approval.

Bacteria have layers of macromolecules that provide strength and shape to their cell walls. The fusion antimicrobial protein, as a cell-wall-degrading enzyme, kills pathogens by decomposing this structural layer and causing the cell to break down.

The B30-lysostaphin fusion protein developed by Donovan’s team is active against both Staphylococcus aureus and three streptococcal mastitis pathogens that together are responsible for up to 50 percent of the dairy cattle mastitis that occurs in the United States.

Surprisingly Exotic Boxwood

Close-up of boxwood foliage.
Proper thinned, the boxwood canopy has small voids that permit air and sunlight to enter the shrub’s interior. [How to thin a boxwood]

Photo image of Boxwood Handbook
The Boxwood Handbook was written by ARS horticulturalist Lynn Batdorf and published by the American Boxwood Society.
Images courtesy U.S. National Arboretum.

Arboretum Scientist Brings Back Boxwood From Far-Flung Places

By Alfredo Flores
May 18, 2006

Lynn R. Batdorf has searched far and wide for boxwood in efforts to diversify the collection he curates at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.

Batdorf, a horticulturalist, has been curator of the arboretum’s National Boxwood Collection since 1977, carefully tending about 150 different species and cultivars in one of the world’s most complete boxwood collections. The arboretum is operated by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the chief scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Batdorf, who recently discussed his boxwood collection efforts at the 46th American Boxwood Society Meeting and Symposium in Memphis, Tenn., in 2002 began exploring for boxwood in Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic that is home to many rare species. Foreigners have only recently been allowed to visit that country for plant exploration. During an expedition to the Chirkan Nature Reserve, in the towns of Lankaran and Astara, Batdorf discovered Buxus colchica, a very large (30 feet tall) and ancient (over 250 years old) boxwood.

In January 2006, Batdorf registered a new Korean semidrawf boxwood (Buxus sinica var. insularis), dubbed Wee Willie, in the Boxwood Bulletin, a quarterly journal of the American Boxwood Society (ABS). This boxwood has straight, vertical stems with dense, dark-green leaves and excellent cold hardiness.

Other valuable boxwood in the arboretum’s collection includes Vardar Valley (Buxus sempervirens) from Macedonia, a variety known for its fragrant flowers, shallow roots, and resistance to leaf miners and mites. Another notable variety is Curly Locks (Buxus microphylia), a medium-sized plant with small, curly leaves.

In addition to writing and illustrating the comprehensive Boxwood: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, Batdorf recently compiled and released his latest findings in Boxwood Handbook: A Practical Guide (3d. edition). Both are available through the nonprofit ABS.

Silencing Wheat and Barley Scab

Close-up of a wheat head infected with scab: Link to photo information
Wheat head infected with scab. Click the image for more information about it.

Silencing Wheat and Barley Scab

By Don Comis
May 26, 2006

A new test to find scab-resistance genes in wheat and barley seed heads uses the plants’ natural viral defense mechanism to temporarily “silence” the gene to be tested. The test is an adaptation of a technique called Virus-Induced Gene Silencing (VIGS).

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) geneticist Steven Scofield and colleagues developed the test with funds from the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative managed by ARS. Scofield is in the ARS Crop Production and Pest Control Research Unit at West Lafayette, Ind.

Under the initiative, farmers and scientists work together to combat scab—also known as Fusarium head blight—one of the most devastating wheat and barley diseases worldwide. Currently, there are only a few wheat and barley varieties with effective levels of resistance to scab.

The test temporarily incapacitates wheat or barley genes thought to be important to scab resistance, to see if the plant’s scab resistance also disappears temporarily.

Scofield began experimenting with VIGS when he first came to ARS in 2002. With it, he found four genes key to leaf rust resistance in wheat and barley plants. He is working to adapt VIGS to find resistance genes for each major wheat and barley disease, one at a time.

Before this VIGS-based test, there was no way to assess probable genes for scab resistance other than through breeding, or by inserting them into tissue cells and then regenerating whole plants for testing. The new test is much quicker and more efficient since it can be done shortly after a plant is infected with a virus, without waiting to grow a new plant.

VIGS has been used for about 10 years. Scientists first used it with tobacco, then tomatoes, potatoes and Arabidopsis thaliana.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific research agency.

Entomology Pioneer’s Notes Online

Among recently rediscovered notes of Asa Fitch were some of the very earliest observations on invasive aphid pests to the United States, such as the cabbage aphid, “brought here…on shipboard.” Also shown below is a lithograph of the cabbage aphid that was found with Fitch’s notes. (Images courtesy ARS Systematic Entomology Laboratory, which hosts an Asa Fitch website.)
Composite image of (1) portrait of Asa Fitch, (2) sample of handwritten text, (3) image of aphid lithograph.

Entomology Pioneer’s Notes, Still Relevant, Now Online

By Luis Pons
May 22, 2006

The actual handwritten observations about aphids made by Asa Fitch, a 19th-century pioneer of U.S. insect studies, can now be viewed at an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) website. The documents had spent more than a century tucked away in a collection in Maryland.

The site, called “Resurrecting Asa Fitch’s Aphid Notes: Historical Entomology for Application Today,” offers nearly 800 pages of notes by Fitch—some written on recycled galley proofs and handbills—that discuss approximately 190 aphid species.

According to entomologist Gary Miller of the ARS Systematic Entomology Laboratory (SEL), the notes are of great scientific and historic value, yielding glimpses of Fitch’s personality and shedding light on the language and lifestyle of the times.

The well-preserved writings feature data on aphids’ life history, morphology, predators and host plants, much of which is still relevant today. They include references to the cabbage aphid, Brevicoryne brassicae, which in 1791 possibly became the first invasive aphid identified in North America. Fitch was also first to record several other invasive aphids, including, in 1846, Liosomaphis berberidis, whose description is found on the site.

The website was compiled at SEL by Miller, entomologists Ethan Kane and Robert Carlson, and technician Jonathan Eibl.

Fitch, who was born in 1809, became the first professional entomologist appointed by a state when New York hired him in 1854. He published more than 200 reports and articles on insects and related topics.

When Fitch died in 1879, his entomological collection and library were sold to collectors and the U.S. National Museum, and—according to Miller—his aphid notes and some specimens went to where they are today: the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Aphidoidea Collection in Beltsville, Md., which is now managed by SEL.

SEL has laboratories and offices in Beltsville and at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

You can view Fitch’s notes through SEL’s homepage.

ARS is the USDA‘s chief scientific research agency.

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006


Congratulations to Dixie Knoebel.  Esperanza gave birth to a beautiful bay black male cria today, sired by El Toro.

05-08-06 Ultrasound Report

05-08-06Ultrasound.pdf (324.16 KB)
Naming Your Alpaca

Hi Again,

You can name the animal anything you want as long as the name is not used / reserved with the ARI.

For example: if you wanted to register an animal as Harry Potter you could as long as no one else has used that name. (Number one name last year!)

If NWA wanted a harry potter, we could register as NWA Harry Potter and someone else can register say: TPA Harry Potter etc.

If Harry Potter was never registered with the ARI, then you could have us register him as just Harry Potter and when you paid off the contract (100% ownership), you can re-register with your herd identifier ***As long as they have never had a cria***. The cost today is $100 for the name change, paid to the ARI.

For example our Studmaster male IMPACT was originally registered as ERSTWHILE (so you can see why we changed the name, not very studly). If he had cria on the ground we would not be able to do this.

I hope this helps explain how our registry works. If you have any other questions let me know.

Fred Kraft
Northwest Alpacas
[email protected]

04-24-06 Ultrasound Report
04-24-06Ultrasound.pdf (298.82 KB)
05-01-06 Ultrasound Report

05-01-06Ultrasound.pdf (512.81 KB)

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

In Search Of The World’s Finest Alpacas

   The phone rang. It was 6:30 a.m. on my birthday, March 16, 1995. I was half asleep when Phil Mizrahie, of The Pet Center, asked me if I would like to fly to Peru and participate in the selection of 600 alpacas. A moment later I was wide awake and said, “Yes! When do I leave?” “Next Wednesday,” he said. So began an alpaca adventure I will never forget. I flew to Miami and met up with several members of the selection team. Bill Barnett had just arrived from Seattle, Mary Reed flew in from Ohio and Fred Swift whom I’d never met arrived from Vermont. We boarded the plane at 11:59 p.m., headed for Lima and a change of planes for the flight into Cusco, the ancient capital city of the Inca empire. Read Entire Story.

A Conversation with Don Julio Barreda

Arequipa’s El Tourista Hotel provokes a colonial image created by pink stucco walls, framed by high arches, open to broad verandas which give way to green lawns and giant, gnarled shade trees. The hotel, one of few still owned by the Peruvian Government, is set in Arequipa’s finest residential neighborhood. During my recent visit to Peru, Don Julio agreed to meet me for lunch at El Tourista. Much to our surprise, just as the waiter delivered cold lemonade and beer to our table on the veranda, Dr. Walter Bravo appeared from an arriving taxi. Read entire story.

Don Julio Barreda


   Julio Barreda an artist who extracted pigment from the invisible DNA curling in the plasma of an ancient species painted his vision of perfection with balance and harmony across the genotype of a herd sixty years in the making. His extraordinary accomplishment, a gift from God, touched each of us.

   Don Julio stood all of five foot six, hair combed straight back black until the day he died, nut brown skin, burnished and creased by an Incan sun and the cruel, cold wind that comes to rest in the marrow of a man born of Macusani s high plains. Don Julio was a giant in the alpaca world the Godfather. He was born of a Quechua woman and an accountant father from Arequipa, who died, leaving little Julio to be raised by his mother and grandfather on a vast hacienda in the province of Carabaya. His relationship with alpacas began almost before he could talk. Read entire story.

Sister Antonia and The Mystic Powers of Peru’s Cuy

By Mike Safley

     I recently returned from the annual Quechua Benefit trip to Peru where we support a food program at the local church in the Colca Valley town of Yanque .  I met with the sister who operates the daily feeding operation.  I was inspired to write a short story about her, Sister Antonia and The Mystic Power of Peru s Cuy, which I believe portrays the true spirit of Christmas.  The Bible teaches us to feed the poor and heal the sick.  Sister Antonia surely walks in the footsteps of Jesus.  Merry Christmas, I hope you enjoy the story which begins below.

     Sister Antonia Kayser is a plucky 81 year-old Catholic nun from the borough of Brooklyn , New York .  A member of the Maryknoll Order, Sister Antonia has been feeding 800 dirt-poor people a day since 1983 from the courtyard of the church in Yanque, a small town in the Colca Valley of Peru. Antonia does this five days a week, year in year out. On Saturday she feeds 400 more young children who rarely get enough to eat.  If you were to do the math you would find that over the years, Antonia has provided hungry men, women, and children with nearly 6 million individual meals. She is legendary in the Colca Valley . I asked an Indian woman from the far end of the Valley, many hours away from Yanque, if she knew Sister Antonia.  She replied, I know of her she is the nun who feeds people.   Read entire story.

Related Links:

Alpaca Herdsire Selection: The Art and the Science

   The herdsire for any breeding program is the single most important determinant of overall herd quality. It’s true for cattle, sheep, horses, or any other breed. For alpacas in North America the sire is even more important. Alpaca bloodlines are currently available for only four or five generations. For a breeder to be certain of the genetic traits being introduced into his cria he must carefully select from available living studs. He may not be able to rely on multi-generation pedigrees to pass on certain breed traits to his offspring.  Read Entire Story.

Quechua Benefit: The Mission in the Andes

   The highlands of Peru are home to the vast majority of all the alpacas in the world. The Quechua Indians, who domesticated the vicuna more than five thousand years ago, are the source of the alpaca which now reside in the outside world. Their world of high plains and harsh environment resists the probability of profit, providing the Quechua only a subsistence level existence. A pair of shoes, an extracted tooth, or a warm blanket is out of reach for many of these people that time has forgotten. Comfort is a luxury experienced by only a few. Read Entire Story.

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Conservation Reserve Program Seminar Offered June 15
Off-farm landowners with contracts set to expire in 2008 through 2010 are urged to attend this meeting.
[email protected]
Iowa Offers Weed Seed Free Forage and Mulch Certification
Iowa Crop Improvement Association now offers a certification program to assure that forage and mulch is free of noxious weed seed.The program that is offered complies with the Weed Free Forage Standards developed by the North American Weed Management Association.
[email protected]
Feedlot Expansion Field Day Set for June 16
Meet an enterprising Story County producer who worked with ISU, DNR and EPA to develop alternative technology systems to meet environmental requirements and manage his 2,200 head livestock operation.
[email protected]
ISU Extension Offers RUSLE2 and P Index Workshop for Manure Plan Writers
ISU Extension offers a workshop to train service providers on how to use the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation 2 (RUSLE2) and the Iowa Phosphorus Index for use in nutrient management and manure management plans.
[email protected]
Train to Become a Soybean Rust First Detector
The Iowa Soybean Rust Team is recruiting Iowa agricultural professionals to serve as ?First Detectors? for soybean rust.
[email protected]

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Lauren Christian Pork Chop Open Planned for July 11
Registrations are now being accepted for the 2006 Lauren Christian Pork Chop Open.
[email protected]
Kids Explore Ties of Ag to Daily Life
Role Play Agribusiness PhotoFour-county event brings eye-opening experiences with agricultural products to kids.
[email protected]
ISU Extension Offers RUSLE2 and P Index Workshop for Manure Plan Writers
ISU Extension offers a workshop to train service providers on how to use the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation 2 (RUSLE2) and the Iowa Phosphorus Index for use in nutrient management and manure management plans.
[email protected]
Japanese Regulations Could Impact Iowa Producers
Iowa pork producers who send their animals to Iowa packing plants should be aware of new regulations regarding Japanese meat and meat product imports.
[email protected]
Study: Real-Time Ultrasound for Beef Cattle is Accurate
Ultrasound machines use real-time technology to capture additional measurements such as percent of intramuscular fat and used as a sorting tool in the feedlot.
[email protected]
Feedlot Expansion Field Day Set for June 16
Meet an enterprising Story County producer who worked with ISU, DNR and EPA to develop alternative technology systems to meet environmental requirements and manage his 2,200 head livestock operation.
[email protected]

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

News Brief: Texas Crop and Weather-Wet Conditions
This week’s Texas Crop and Weather Report. More wet weather across the state. File size is 1.7 MB. Length is 01:31.
Agnews Weekly Feb. 10, 2006: Texas Drought Losses Reach Estimated $1.5 Billion
Texas drought losses have reached an estimated $1.5 billion. A Texas Cooperative Extension economist gives an update.
Agnews Weekly Jan. 20, 2006: Report from 44th Blackland Income Growth Conference
Texas Cooperative Extension beef cattle specialists and economists discuss current drought that is causing concern among the state’s ranchers. Length is 1002. File size is 16.2 MB.
Agnews Weekly May 25, 2006: Insect Poses Threat to Texas Pecan Growers
This edition spotlights an insect that can harm pecan trees and lead to big losses for growers.
Agnews Weekly-Report From Stiles Farm Field Day
This week’s report focuses on the Stiles Farm Field Day. Also includes weekly Crop and Weather Report. File size is 19.2 MB. Length is 14:00.
Agnews Weekly Podcast-Focus on New Livestock Marketing Specialist
This show dated Nov. 17, 2004 focuses on a new livestock marketing specialist. The position will focus on livestock and food products marketing. Show is 15:17 in length. File size is 20.9 MB.
Agnews Weekly Podcast-Focus on Soybean Rust
This show dated Nov. 12, 2004 discusses soybean rust found on an experimental plot in Louisiana. Discusses implications to Texas soybeans and future outlook. Show is 6:39 in length. File size is 9.1 MB.
Agnews Weekly March 22, 2006: Norman E. Borlaug Fellows Colloquium
Scholars from across the globe gathered recently for the Norman E. Borlaug Fellows Colloqium.
New Agnews Weekly Podcast-Focus on Pecan Harvest
This show dated Oct. 27, 2004 focuses on the U.S. pecan harvest and discusses implications to the Texas pecan market. Show is 12:43 in length. File size 17.4 MB.
Agnews Weekly Podcast-Agriculture News-Special Edition
This report dated Jan. 20, 2005 is from the Blackland Income Growth Conference in Waco, Texas. File size is 31.0 MB. Length is 22:36.
Agnews Weekly July 1, 2005: Dry Conditions Prevail in Texas, Impacting Crops
Dry weather is affecting crops across the state. Dr. Travis Miller, Extension Program leader for soil and crop sciences, provides insight on current situation. Length is 14:06. File size is 19.3 MB.
Agnews Weekly Sept. 2, 2005: Hurricane Katrina and Impact on Agricultural Trade at the port of New Orleans
A Texas Cooperative Extension economist discusses the impact of Katrina on agricultral trade at the port of New Orleans. Length is 0846. File size is 12.0 MB.
Agnews Weekly-Agriculture News
This week’s report includes perspective on recent WTO ruling in which appeals panel upheld its decision that U.S. cotton subsidies create unfair trade. File size is 5.7 MB. Length is 04:13.
News:Texas Crop and Weather
This week’s Texas Crop and Weather Report. Focuses on wet weather across the state. File size is 1.9 MB. Length is 01:25.
Agnews Weekly March 31, 2006: Dr. O.D. Butler Memorial Field Day
This edition spotlights the Dr. O.D. Butler Memorial Field Day.
Agnews Weekly-Agriculture News
This week’s report focuses on Texas Agricultural Experiment Station research. Also includes Texas Crop and Weather Report. File size is 9.3 MB. Length is 06:48.
Agnews Weekly August 4, 2005: Report from Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course
Cattle producers from across the U.S. and internationally gathered this week at the 2005 Texas A&M University Beef Cattle Short Course. Length is 20:15. File size is 27.8 MB.
Agnews Weekly July 8, 2005: Prescribed Burning As A Rangeland Management Tool
A Texas Agricultural Experiment Station rangeland scientist discusses the many benefits of prescribed burning on rangeland. Length is 08:51. File size is 12.1 MB.
Agnews Weekly-Crop and Weather Report, News and Notes
This week’s report focuses on the Texas Crop and Weather Report. Also a look at a genome sequencing project led by Texas Agricultural Experiment Station. File size is 6.5 MB. Length is 04:45.
Agnews Weekly Dec. 20, 2005: Beef Market Outlook for 2006
A Texas Cooperative Extension livestock marketing economist gives an outlook on the 2006 beef market. Length is 0612. File size is 4.3 MB.
Agnews Weekly-Crop and Weather Report, WTO-U.S. Farm Policy Conference
This week’s report focuses on an upcoming conference dealing with how the World Trade Organization could impact U.S. farm policy. Also includes Texas Crop and Weather Report. File size is 11.6 MB. Length is 08:31.
Agnews Weekly-Special Report: Consumer Confidence Should Remain Strong After Latest Discovery of Mad Cow Disease
A Texas Cooperative Extension beef economist provides insight as to how cattle markets will react following second case of mad cow disease in U.S. File size is 4.0 MB. Length is 2:56.
Agnews Weekly Podcast-Thanksgiving Edition
This show dated Nov. 24, 2004 focuses on upbeat beef markets after negative test for mad cow disease reported late Tuesday by USDA. Also a look at Texas Crop and Weather. File size is 9.2 MB.
Agnews Weekly-U.S. Beef Market Outlook
This week’s report includes the Texas Crop and Weather Report. More wet weather across the state. Spotlight story: Focus on beef market outlook. File size is 11.7 MB. Length is 08:31.
Agnews Weekly-Agriculture News
This week’s report includes the Texas Crop and Weather Report. Spotlight story: Focus on food industry trade, report from USDA Outlook Forum. File size is 10.2 MB. Length is 07:30.
Agnews Weekly Podcast-Agriculture News-Special Edition
This report dated Jan. 25, 2005 includes Texas Crop and Weather Report, News Briefs. File size is 11.7 MB. Length is 08:31.
Agnews Weekly-Crop and Weather Report, Beef Cattle Short Course
This week’s report focuses on the Texas Crop and Weather Report. Also a look at the upcoming Beef Cattle Short Course. File size is 7.8 MB. Length is 05:35.
Agnews Weekly-Crop and Weather Report, Cotton news
This week’s report focuses on a Texas Cooperative Extension cotton marketing economist. Also includes Texas Crop and Weather Report. File size is 11.6 MB. Length is 08:30.
Agnews Weekly May 26, 2006: Texas Agricultural Exports
This edition spotlights the Texas agricultural export market. Texas Crop and Weather Report.
Agnews Weekly Podcast-Agriculture News
This show dated Dec. 8, 2004 focuses on Texas Crop and Weather, another segment on desalination. File size is 18.8 MB. Length is 13:34.
Agnews Weekly May 12, 2006: Ag Forum in San Antonio
This edition spotlights the 2006 Ag Forum held in San Antonio.
Agnews Weekly July 19, 2005: Animal Identification, Impact On The Beef Industry
A Texas Cooperative Extension beef cattle specialist discusses the animal identification program and its impact on the beef industry. Length is 10:21. File size is 14.2 MB.
Agnews Weekly August 19, 2005: Sorghum Downy Mildew Research
A Texas Cooperative Extension and Texas Agricultural Experiment Station plant pathologist discusses sorghum downy mildew. Length is 12:10. File size is 16.7 MB.
Agnews Weekly-Agriculture News
This week’s report focuses on the Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership program. Also includes Texas Crop and Weather Report. File size is 21.7 MB. Length is 15:51.
Agnews Weekly Podcast-Focus on New Brush Management Book
This show dated Nov. 3, 2004 spotlights a new brush management book. Show is 9:38 in length. File size is 13.2 MB.
Agnews Weekly Dec. 1, 2005: Center for Equine Business Studies
A proposed Center for Equine Business Studies at Texas A&M has received approval and Dr. Ernie Davis discusses its role in serving the horse industry. Length is 0559. File size is 4.9 MB.
Agnews Weekly Oct. 7, 2005: Cotton Stalk Destruction Research
A Texas Cooperative Extension agronomist talks about cotton stalk destruction research. Length is 0735. File size is 10.4 MB.
Agnews Weekly Podcast-Agriculture News-Crop and Weather Report, Blogging
This report dated Jan. 14, 2005 includes the weekly Texas Crop and Weather Report, advance on upcoming Blackland Income Growth Conference Jan. 18-19 in Waco, Texas, and a look at how one Texas Cooperative Extension specialist is using blogging to educate individuals on the different aspects of quail. File size is 23.4 MB. Length is 17:06.