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1998 Animal Industry Day to Focus on Food Safety and Reproductive Technologies

Livestock Update, March 1998

Larry Lawrence, Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Tech

The 35th Annual Animal Industry Day is scheduled to be held on Friday, July 10, 1998, at the Virginia Tech Livestock Center on the campus of Virginia Tech. While the Animal Industry Day serves as a homecoming for Ag Alumni, farmers, and industry professionals, its real goal is to bring academia and the industry together to discuss current issues, problems and new technology. With these goals in mind, this year's event should prove to be one of the most productive in years.

The program kicks off with registration at 8:30 - 9:30 am. We hope you will use this time to visit over 30 commercial and educational exhibits on display. Dr. Gary Minish will moderate the morning session with introductions of some of Animal and Poultry Sciences best and brightest. He will introduce students who will describe some of the unique educational opportunities that set the department apart and illustrate its relationship with the animal industries. Next, Dr. Clark Jones, Director of Cooperative Extension and Dr. Andy Swiger, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, will briefly highlight new directions for Extension and the College designed to serve Virginia agriculture in new and innovative ways for the next millennium.

Who has not been affected by the issues of food safety, quality and consistency? The Merial sponsored keynote speaker this year literally wrote the book on these important issues. Dr. Gary Smith, Monfort Endowed Chair in Meat Science at Colorado State, was the chairman of the committee that wrote Irradiation of Meat and Meat Products, and a member of the committee that wrote "Designing Foods" and Packaging and Labeling of Fresh Red Meat. Dr. Smith has been recognized as a leading authority on food safety and quality. His expertise has been sought after by the National Cattleman's Beef Association, Food Marketing Institute, American Meat Institute and the USDA. Dr. Smith not only has his fingers on the pulse of the meat marketing and products industry; he is one of its national leaders. When cattlemen across the country are asked about the key issues facing the industry, product marketing will almost invariability be one of the top concerns. This is your opportunity to learn about what is being done currently on the national level. Dr. Smith will talk at 11:00 am.

The Virginia Cattle Industry Board, Virginia Poultry Federation and the Virginia Pork industry Board are sponsoring a complimentary beef, pork and chicken barbecue at Noon. During lunch, a horse vaulting demonstration will be performed in Campbell Arena. Members of the 1997 Bronze Level National Champion Mt. Tabor 4-H Vaulters will demonstrate their winning techniques for acrobatics on horseback.

At 1:00 pm, livestock species groups will break into sections. The beef group will board buses for the nearby Kentland Farm. The latest technology available to producers to increase reproductive efficiency on the farm will be demonstrated. Dr. W. E. Beal will discuss new methods of freezing embryos that may make it possible for beef and dairy producers to transfer embryos. Current Tech research focuses on where to place the embryo in the uterus to maximize pregnancy rate. The presentation will emphasize the cost/benefit of producers performing embryo transfer. Dr. D. E. Eversole will demonstrate the Electronic Heat Watch Estrus Detection System. This commercially available system is a breakthrough in heat detection technology that will help shore up one of the weakest links in the success of an artificial insemination program. The presentation will show how the system identifies the precise onset and duration of standing heat. The bottom line for this technology is it can decrease labor and increase reproductive efficiency. Ryan Sirolli will demonstrate the "Bovine Beacon" a second heat detection aid. His undergraduate research evaluated this "glow in the dark" system for its accuracy in detecting cows in heat. Agronomist, Dr. Paul Peterson, will report on the advantages of Caucasian Bluestem and Switchgrass in a grazing management program for heifers. Dr. John Hall, the new Extension Beef Cattle Specialist, will describe his innovative "Beef Cattle University." He is recruiting new producer/students right now.

The horse program will continue after lunch with a demonstration by Ms. Pam Umberger "Pleasure Driving Basics - Keeping it Safe". Pam will talk about starting with the "right" horse, selecting the right equipment including tack and vehicle. Then she will list the pitfalls and common mistakes made including making the mental mistake of thinking driving is just like riding. The second part of the demonstration will include a description of the art of Saddle Seat riding. The origins of the modern horse show industry can be traced to the flamboyant Saddle Seat show horses and riders of the 40's and 50's. This is where it all started. Pam will also bring one of the nicest examples of a Plantation Pleasure horse in our area to demonstrate the animation and brilliance of these smooth gaited horses that are said to "Walk on Clouds."

Dr. Bill Ley, Professor of Equine Reproduction and Production Management Medicine, will discuss "Assisted Reproductive Technologies" for horse producers at 2 pm. Dr. Ley is on the faculty of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Ley's research and field experience allow him to separate theory and real world application. He will answer your questions on the use of new techniques in horse breeding.

The sheep section of the day will be devoted to a variety of reproductive technologies and management procedures designed to improve reproductive performance and profitability for producers. Graduate students and faculty from the sheep and swine research groups will present current research and be available to discuss problems and new research findings.

The afternoon sessions are scheduled to adjourn at 3:00 p.m.

For further information contact Dr. Dan Eversole, 540-231-4738.

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