Protection

Chicken farmers across Canada are rolling out the latest changes to the Raised by a Canadian Farmer Animal Care Program (ACP).

Published in Broilers

The International Egg Commission and its members support, and will promote, the responsible use of all antimicrobials to allow for the long-term safe production of eggs, safeguarding the availability of eggs and egg products for the world’s consumers.

Published in Farm Business

Undercover video. Two words that will send shivers up the spine of anyone who works in agriculture and food. There have been well over 200 undercover videos in the U.S. and 16 in Canada since 2012 targeting agriculture from farms through to processing. While it’s human nature to hope one never focuses on you, your company, suppliers or customers – it’s always better to be prepared.

Published in Welfare
U.S. food companies kept slaughter plants shut on Monday in southeastern states swamped by Hurricane Florence as catastrophic flooding killed nearly two million chickens, collapsed the walls of at least two hog manure pits, and made stretches of major roads impassable.

Florence, which has dumped up to 36 inches (91 cm) of rain on North Carolina since Thursday, was interrupting supply lines around the state and into neighboring South Carolina.

Meteorologists have warned that the worst is yet to come as rivers rise. North Carolina is a top U.S. producer of poultry, hogs and tobacco. Agriculture contributes $87 billion to the state’s economy, making it the state’s No. 1 industry.

Two North Carolina hog waste pits were structurally damaged, four were inundated with water and seven had discharges, according to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

More than 3,000 lagoons in the state were unaffected, the North Carolina Pork Council said.

When manure pits overflow, there is a risk that water supplies will be contaminated with bacteria like salmonella and e. coli.

Smithfield Foods Inc. runs the world’s biggest hog plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, near a junction where I-95 traffic has been disrupted. Smithfield closed the plant on Thursday and Friday and an employee said it was still closed on Monday. The company did not respond to requests for comment.

About 1.7 million broiler chickens that independent suppliers were raising for Sanderson Farms Inc., were killed in the floodwaters, the third-largest U.S. poultry producer said on Monday.

Some 30 poultry farms housing about 211,000 chickens each in the area of Lumberton, North Carolina, were isolated by floods, and Sanderson Farms was unable to get feed trucks to them.

“Losses of live inventory could escalate if the company does not regain access to those farms,” Sanderson Farms said in a statement. The company said it was assessing damage from the storm and warned that losses would weigh on quarterly results.

On Monday, the North Carolina Department of Transportation advised against travel in the southern, central and eastern parts of the state, noting that several sections of I-95 and I-40, which are major trucking arteries, were flooded.

The South Carolina Department of transportation said sections of I-95 were closed near the North Carolina line. U.S. railroad operator CSX Corp, which services the area, advised customers that shipments traveling through the I-95 corridor would experience delays. CSX said it was assessing damage from the storm.

“When it comes to moving product, there’s obviously challenges with major routes like I-95, I-75 and I-40 being closed and having to detour around that,” Perdue Farms spokesman Joe Forsthoffer said.

Last week, Perdue Farms shut poultry processing plants in Rockingham, North Carolina, and Dillon, South Carolina, and kept them offline on Monday because of road closures and power outages, Forsthoffer said.

“It just wasn’t safe to ask people to come in,” said Forsthoffer, who added that the privately held chicken producer would monitor road conditions to determine when it can resume slaughtering. He said a small number of poultry died on the company’s farms.

Commodity handler Cargill Inc. closed an animal-feed facility in Roanoke, Virginia, and another facility in Fayetteville, North Carolina, that handles salt, oils and grains, because they are in active flood zones, spokeswoman April Nelson said on Monday.

A third facility in Charlotte, North Carolina, was also closed and due to reopen on Tuesday, she said. On Tuesday, North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler will attempt to survey farms from a helicopter, Ashby said.

RELATED: Sanderson Farms provides update on hurricane damage
Published in News
Maple Leaf Foods recently announced it is investing approximately $28 million to transition its Edmonton poultry processing facility to world-class controlled atmosphere stunning (CAS) technology, reflecting its commitment to building on its leadership in animal care, the poultry sector and value-added branded fresh chicken.

Maple Leaf will convert its transportation, lairage and receiving area and handling systems to optimize rest-time and create a climate-controlled environment as it implements this technology.

The new lairage system will enhance lighting, air quality and temperature control, allowing chickens to rest comfortably and significantly reducing stress.

The CAS technology selected is a very humane system that will ensure birds are fully insensible prior to processing. The conversion will result in a 26,000-square foot expansion at the Edmonton facility, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

"We are on a journey to become the most sustainable protein company on earth and being a leader in animal care is a cornerstone of this vision," said Michael McCain, president and CEO, Maple Leaf Foods. "We are deploying world-class technologies and best practices that support our goal to eliminate stress and pain and provide humane treatment of animals in our care, while enhancing employee health and safety and food quality. With Canada's leading poultry brands, we are advancing many dimensions of sustainability, from eliminating antibiotics, to best practices in animal care and dramatic reductions in our environmental footprint."

"CAS provides many advantages to animal welfare, ensuring chickens are fully unconscious and humanely euthanized, while greatly reducing stress," according to Dr. Greg Douglas, vice-president, animal care. "This technology, which we have also installed at our pork processing facility in Manitoba, is acknowledged as a best practice around the world," Douglas added.

Maple Leaf Foods is also installing Remote Video Auditing at this facility, a powerful training and auditing tool that supports rigorous monitoring and compliance to best practices of animal care.

This will be the ninth implementation as part of Maple Leaf's commitment to incorporate Remote Video Auditing across its network.

Poultry is the most consumed protein in Canada and Maple Leaf Foods has the leading national brands and market position in value-added poultry, which continues to experience significant growth.

To support its leadership, Maple Leaf has added a second shift at this facility to keep pace with demand and recently invested approximately $16 million to expand capacity at its hatchery operations in Wetaskiwin, Alberta.

Maple Leaf has additionally reached an agreement to acquire two poultry processing facilities and related supply, with significant value-added capabilities, from Cericola Farms.
Published in Company News
Canada's agriculture and agri-food system contributes $110 billion to Canada's economy, with more than $64.6 billion in exports. Agriculture risk management is important to the sector – it helps stabilize farmers' incomes, strengthens farm businesses, and encourages growth in the agricultural sector. Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, governments continue to support the development of new risk management tools that reflect the changing nature of the business.

Building on the successes of Growing Forward 2, the AgriRisk Initiatives Program has been renewed under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay today announced that the $55 million program will encourage partnerships between agriculture industry stakeholders, researchers, and federal, provincial and territorial governments to proactively explore and develop new risk management products and services for the agricultural sector.

Funding is available under two components: Research and Development and Administrative Capacity Building. In response to recommendations received from the BRM Review Expert Panel, priority will be given to proposals for industry-led projects to develop new and innovative business risk management tools.

"Canada's hard-working farmers constantly face volatility and unpredictability in their business. Our Government is launching this renewed AgriRisk program to help protect our hardworking farmers from the risks they face so they can continue to grow the economy and create good, well-paying jobs. This announcement responds to what we heard from the external advisory panel on business risk management," said MacAulay.
Published in News
Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) is involved in a new initiative called the Livestock Welfare Engagement Project. The goal of this project is a collaborative look at animal welfare in Alberta’s livestock industry, where AFAC will facilitate the collection of input from individuals and organizations across the sector.

The insights and information collected through this project will be presented in a final report, which will be shared with the Government of Alberta to support its understanding of the animal welfare landscape in the province from the livestock industry’s perspective. The Livestock Welfare Engagement Project was requested and is being funded by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

Your voice matters – Everyone encouraged to participate
“Livestock welfare is important to all industry stakeholders, as well as the bodies that regulate the sector, and practices continue to change and evolve. This project will provide every stakeholder – from individual farmers and ranchers to producer association groups, veterinarians and all others – the opportunity to share their insight into what is happening in their sector today,” says Annemarie Pedersen, AFAC executive director. “These diverse insights will be critical in creating a clear picture of the extensive work being done related to animal welfare in Alberta today, and in providing direction for the future.”

Industry input required
One of the most important parts of the project is the project survey. This survey is now online and is open to anyone in Alberta who is involved in animal agriculture in the province. Individuals and organizations of all kinds across the industry are invited and encouraged to participate. The survey is designed to incorporate four categories: 1) organizations, 2) abattoir & auction markets, 3) individuals (e.g. producers), and 4) students.

Click here to complete the survey

The survey is open until October 31st. Participants are encouraged to complete the survey as soon as possible. Any participants falling under more than one category are welcome to complete multiple surveys.

"Sharing and redistribution of this survey is requested. The more responses gathered, the clearer the final picture of Alberta’s livestock sector will be," says Pedersen. "Industry associations such as producer and commodity organizations are encouraged to circulate this information to their members and stakeholders and we encourage them to participate as well."

Key components of the overall project include a preliminary engagement consultation session (completed in March), the online project survey (now underway), focus groups (to follow) and development of the final report. If you have questions on which survey version to complete or on other aspects of the project, please contact AFAC.
Published in Welfare
Canada's system of supply management has been the target of heated political debate for the better part of half a century — but very few Canadians outside of the affected farm sectors actually understand how it works, or who foots the bill for stabilizing farmers' incomes.

Supply management is a system that allows specific commodity sectors — dairy, poultry and eggs — to limit the supply of their products to what Canadians are expected to consume in order to ensure predictable, stable prices.

While the federal government has played a role in supporting agricultural pricing policies for more than a century, the current system of supply management traces its origins to the 1960s — a period of overproduction due to technological advances that resulted in low prices for farmers. | READ MORE
Published in Farm Business
In 2014/2015 an outbreak of highly pathogenic Avian Influenza (AI) struck British Columbia. A total of 13 poultry farms were affected and approximately 240,000 birds died or were destroyed to control the outbreak.

In addition, the disease was detected in the U.S. where more than 48 million birds were lost and the outbreak was estimated to have cost US$3.3 billion and resulted in shortages and price increases for certain poultry products.

Wild waterfowl are known to be the reservoir for AI, and although wild bird AI surveillance programs were already in place in Canada and the U.S., it was limited to collecting and testing individual wild birds.

To improve the surveillance to include environmental monitoring, in 2015 the BC Ministry of Agriculture, BC Centre for Disease Control Public Health Laboratory, and University of British Columbia joined forces to develop a new approach - a genomics-based test that identifies and characterizes AI viruses (AIV) in wetland sediments.

This work, funded in part by Genome British Columbia (Genome BC) and led by Drs. Chelsea Himsworth, Jane Pritchard, William Hsiao, Natalie Prystajecky, and Agatha Jassem, successfully demonstrated that this novel approach worked, as AIV was detected in a significant proportion of sediment samples, compared to less than one percent rate of detection in the current Canadian national wild bird AI surveillance program.

Additionally, the outbreak virus was found in wetlands throughout the Fraser Valley, information that could have been used to mitigate the outbreak had this technology been available.

To further evaluate this novel surveillance approach, a new project, Genomic Analysis of Wetland Sediment as a Tool for Avian Influenza Surveillance and Prevention, represents a combined investment of over $2.5 million from funders and delivery partners including Genome BC, the BC Ministry of Agriculture, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC, and the Sustainable Poultry Farming Group.

This phase follows on from previous work and is looking at what steps are required to move the technology from a successful proof-of-concept initiative to implementation. This includes scientific validation of technology, as well as its incorporation into Provincial and National Wild Waterfowl AI Surveillance Programs. It is anticipated that this innovative approach will be adopted nationally and internationally for surveillance of AI and/or other diseases associated with wildlife.

"This investment allows Dr. Himsworth and the team to refine and validate the AI sediment surveillance with genomics technologies, methodology and field approach," says Dr. Catalina Lopez-Correa, chief scientific officer and vice president, sectors, at Genome BC. "Most importantly it allows for the identification of the optimal combination of AI surveillance techniques for maximum efficiency and efficacy."
Published in Health
With farms, woods, wildlife and fresh air, rural residents cherish the charm and beauty of the countryside. Many people move from cities seeking peace and a pristine environment in the country.

Most people understand that a rural community includes farmers and that farming is a business. Ontario’s agriculture and food sector employs 760,000 people and contributes more than $35 billion to the province’s economy every year.

This means that certain activities take place according to a production schedule; and some affect residents living close to farms. In almost all cases, farmers and their rural neighbours get along well together. However, there are some exceptions.

For the year of 2015- 2016 the ministry received 107 complaints related to farm practices. Of these, 45 (40 per cent) were about odour, while the others were mainly about noise (26 per cent), flies (19 per cent) and municipal by-laws (nine per cent).

Odour complaints are generally related to:
  • Farmers spreading manure on fields
  • Fans ventilating livestock barns
  • Manure piles
  • Mushroom farms
To manage conflict about farm practices, the Ontario government enacted the Farming and Food Production Protection Act (FFPPA).

This act establishes the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board (NFPPB) to determine “normal farm practices”. When a person complains about odour or other nuisance from a particular farming practice, the board has the authority to hear the case and decide whether the practice is a “normal farm practice”. If it is, the farmer is protected from any legal action regarding that practice.

When people make complaints about farm practices, a regional agricultural engineer or environmental specialist from OMAFRA’s Environmental Management Branch works with all parties involved to resolve the conflict.

The board requires that any complaint go through this conflict resolution process before it comes to a hearing.

Each year, through the conflict resolution process, OMAFRA staff have resolved the vast majority of complaints. In 2015-16, only twelve of the 107 cases resulted in hearings before the board. Of these, only two were odour cases involving multiple nuisances such as noise, dust and flies. Thus, while odours remain the biggest cause of complaints about farm practices, OMAFRA staff working through the conflict resolution process has proved very effective in dealing with them.
Published in Consumer Issues
USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation announce the completion of a funded research project at the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga., in which a researcher showed how infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT) can spread from vaccinated flocks.

Dr. Maricarmen Garcia, at the University of Georgia, recently completed a research project that studied how well a recombinant ILT vaccine protected broilers when various doses of the vaccine were used.

She found that all dosage levels used protected against the clinical signs of the disease, but none of the dosage levels prevented the broilers from shedding the ILT challenge virus to other broilers. This study reinforces the observation that biosecurity is very important to control spread of ILT from vaccinated flocks.

The research summary can be found on the USPOULTRY website, www.uspoultry.org.
Published in Health
Bayer is pleased to announce it has partnered with The Do More Agriculture Foundation – a not-for-profit organization focused on raising awareness and promoting mental well-being for farmers in Canada.

As part of the partnership, Bayer's Crop Science division has contributed $20,000 to the Foundation to support its mission of providing support and resources to farmers seeking mental health assistance.

The need to support Canadian farmers' mental well-being has never been greater. According to a study from the University of Guelph, more than a third of Canadian producers are experiencing depression and over half experience anxiety. However, the stigma associated with mental health issues remains a significant barrier for those that need help.

Forty per cent of Canadian producers reported they would feel uneasy about seeing professional help due to what other people may think.

"We believe that through this partnership we can help increase awareness of mental health issues and break the stigma that currently exists in the agriculture industry," said Al Driver, Bayer Crop Science Canada's president and CEO. "We see first-hand the challenges that farmers face and encourage them to access these resources to manage their well-being."

The Do More Ag Foundation are champions for the mental well-being of Canadian producers and are focused on changing the culture of agriculture to one where producers are encouraged, supported and empowered to take care of themselves. This will be achieved by creating awareness, building community and supporting research.

"We are so appreciative to Bayer for supporting Do More Ag and Canadian producers. The support from Bayer will allow The Do More Agriculture Foundation to move forward with larger initiatives that will be able to support more producers across Canada," said Kim Keller, co-founder of the Foundation. "This will create more awareness around mental health and build more capacity within communities across Canada to be able to support community members who may be facing mental health challenges."

With support from Bayer, Do More Ag will continue the conversation about mental well-being in an accessible way for producers, while breaking the stigma associated with mental health. It will encourage producers to talk about mental health within their operations, families and communities, with the hope of changing the culture in agriculture to one where all producers feel encouraged and supported to take care of their mental well-being.

For more information about The Do More Agriculture Foundation, please visit www.domore.ag.
Published in Companies
A new genetic link to the immune system in laying hens has been discovered that could result in laying hens being born resistant to many diseases.

Pioneering research of the full genome of over 1,600 layers has revealed a genetic link to natural antibodies (called: NAbs).

This research that was undertaken by Wageningen University in the Netherlands and Hendrix Genetics. It has huge potential to impact productivity, biosecurity, and sustainability. | READ MORE
Published in News
Live vaccines contain naturally occurring mild pathotype or attenuated (weakened) viruses, bacteria or coccidia and are designed to elicit local and systemic immunity in birds. They are suitable for mass administration by water or spray.
Published in Ask the Vet
The H3N2 canine influenza virus was detected in dogs in Ontario this past December. Some producers might be wondering if the outbreak poses a threat to poultry. While the strain is of avian origin, experts Canadian Poultry consulted say the chances of it being transmitted to poultry now that it has switched to a canine-adapted virus are small. Thus, they consider any related disease threat to the poultry industry in Canada to be very low.
Published in Barn Management
3M Food Safety recently announced its new 3M Molecular Detection Assay 2 – Campylobacter with 3M Campylobacter Enrichment Broth, providing more efficient testing for a key pathogen associated with poultry production.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Campylobacter causes an estimated 1.3 million illnesses each year in the U.S. 3M’s new assay and simplified enrichment broth helps customers safeguard against this pathogen while increasing laboratory productivity.

The testing process is significantly faster than alternatives like PCR, immunoassay and culture methods, and having a streamlined protocol for Campylobacter and Salmonella means the system is able to perform up to 96 tests of multiple types in one 60-minute run.

“We are providing the poultry industry with a complete solution that is simplified to achieve fast, highly accurate results,” said Christopher Somero, 3M food safety marketing manager for new products. “While this product was developed to give our customers an easier workflow, an additional benefit is increased protection of their products and brands from the threat of this pathogen.”

Unlike traditional Campylobacter enrichment protocols that can take 11 or more steps, the 3M Campylobacter Enrichment Broth requires only five steps. This frees up poultry testing labs to keep their focus on what matters most.

The 3M Campylobacter Enrichment Broth eliminates the need for expensive microaerophilic incubation, supplements, blood, organic solvents or autoclaving the broth, only requiring the addition of sterile water.

The award-winning 3M Molecular Detection System platform is used by food processors, universities, governments and contract testing laboratories in more than 40 countries. It is powered by a combination of advanced technologies—isothermal DNA amplification and bioluminescence detection—to provide a pathogen testing solution that is fast, accurate, easy to use and affordable.

The new assay for Campylobacter joins, and can be run concurrently with, molecular tests already offered by 3M for Salmonella, E. coli O157 (including H7), Cronobacter, Listeria and Listeria monocytogenes.

For more information, visit: www.3m.com/foodsafety/poultrytesting

Published in New Technology
Antibiotic resistance is real. In Canada and around the world, fewer antimicrobials remain effective in controlling infection as more microbes become resistant in both human and veterinary medicine.
Published in Ask the Vet
When it comes to disease diagnostics, time is of the essence. And yet there is currently no commercial, on-farm detection technique for poultry diseases like avian influenza (AI).
Published in Health
There are some types of E. coli (known as avian pathogenic E. coli [APEC]) that can cause serious or fatal colibacillosis infection in chickens. Many factors predispose birds to the infections.
Published in Layers
Researchers at The Pirbright Institute have created a new method of genetically modifying the Marek’s disease vaccine so that it is able to protect against another destructive poultry virus called infectious bursal disease (IBD), and potentially others such as avian influenza and Newcastle disease. This approach could lead to a reduction in the number of vaccines that need to be administered to each bird.

For the first time, Pirbright scientists have been able to use a gene editing system called CRISPR/cas9 to add a gene of the IBD virus into a current Marek’s disease vaccine virus. The added genetic material protects poultry against IBD in addition to the protection already offered by the Marek’s disease vaccine, meaning that bird owners would only need to use one vaccine instead of two. For the full story, click here.
Published in News
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