Tracking system definitely a necessity”When we had our first case of BSE (bovine spongiformencephalopathy), also known as ‘mad cow disease,’ last December,it took six weeks and 500 people to trace the animals. And thereare still more than 20 cows unaccounted for,” said Carter Black,Georgia’s associate state veterinarian.”If this had been foot-and-mouth disease,” he said, “we would bein a world of hurt.”Black said tracking animals isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” activity.”What works in one part of the country won’t work in otherparts,” he said. “In Georgia, we have too many landowners whodon’t own the cattle on their land.”Black said state livestock officials seem to prefer electronicidentification, which uses radio frequency chips. A number ofcompanies make them, but the chips aren’t compatible. “We needone scanner and one type of chip for this system to work,” hesaid. Cattle should be viewed as food”This is a positive change,” he said. “After all, we’re sellingfood, not cattle. Our beef is probably the safest in the world.Proving it may be like taking medicine. It’ll be bad at first butwill benefit us in the long run.”Government dollars must fund the system, said Jim Collins,executive vice-president of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association.”The plan is just a skeleton to build on,” he said. “Now we haveto move forward with something that’s workable.”By this fall, each state must decide how to assign and manage thetags, Collins said. By July 2006, the tagging system should be inplace.Besides cattle, the system will track bison, swine, sheep, goats,equine, poultry, game birds, farmed fish and domestic deer, elk,camelids (like llamas and alpacas) and ratites (like ostrichesand emus).The USAIP Web site (www.usaip.info) reports thatthe system’sfirst phase, premises identification by state, should be completethis year.”This program is in the development stage, and it’s a movingvehicle,” said Charles McPeake, a UGA animal scientist helpingdevelop the system for Georgia. “It will be a number of monthsbefore information is concrete.” By Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaWhen it comes to protecting animal-based foods, knowing ananimal’s past is essential. And farmers, industry and governmentofficials are developing a way to track it.The U.S. Animal Identification Plan will allow officials totrace all animals and locations potentially exposed to an animalwith a foreign disease within 48 hours of discovery. Once inplace, it will track animals from the farm to the table.The plan requires animals get an identification number at birth.How they’ll be tagged and who will do it was the topic of around-table discussion during the University of Georgia MountainBeef Cattle Field Day in Blairsville, Ga. Too many tags?Cattleman Bud Hill of Hill Vue Farms in Blairsville, Ga., seesthe benefits of tracking. But he isn’t excited about adding morefarm chores and record-keeping.”We’re gonna have tags up the grommet if we’re not careful,” hesaid. Most cows have ear tattoos, an ear tag and a visual tag.The new radio-frequency tracking tag would be yet another tag.”You can buy gas at six different stations in one day and there’sa record of where you’ve been,” he said. “This system should workthe same way.” The added tag shouldn’t be a problem, he said, asmost breeders are already set up for tagging.But “sale barns aren’t set up to tag cattle,” said Eddie Bradley,a Towns County, Ga., cattleman. “But they are the logical placeto tag cattle from small producers.”According to the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, 85 percent ofGeorgia cattle are sold through sale barns.Bradley sees the new tracking system as a way of reassuring thepublic that U.S. beef is safe to eat.
Stewart referred Atkinson to Susan Wilde and Haynie at the Warnell School because of their work studying another deadly aquatic toxin that is likely killing American bald eagles who acquire avian vacuolar myelinopathy from the algae. Atkinson said three other heifers have been exposed to the algae toxins; they have been sequestered and are being monitored. All of the cattle that have died or been exposed to the microcystin toxin are show cattle. Jones recommends pond owners also contact their veterinarian if they suspect an algae bloom has occurred and their pets or livestock drank from the water. Veterinarians can conduct a blood test to confirm liver damage, he said. “These toxins can be fatal if ingested in high quantities,” he said. “Diagnosis may be difficult because the symptoms may easily be mistaken for other disorders more commonly observed in cattle, so a thorough evaluation of the farm is essential to rule out other causes.” Atkinson’s pond is the worst-case scenario, resulting from a perfect storm of conditions. Warmer than average temperatures and drought lead to increased water clarity and an influx of nutrients from the surrounding pasture, which created the ideal conditions for an algal bloom. Haynie and other researchers have been working to clear up the algal bloom in cattle farmer Bill Atkinson’s pond, taking water and fish samples and treating the water with algaecide. Algae are a naturally occurring phenomenon, Haynie said, and typically flare up and then clear on their own. The UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources offers yearly classes on proper pond management. For scheduling information, see warnell.uga.edu. University of Georgia researchers have determined that toxic algae killed four cows on a cattle farm in Gwinnett County. Georgia’s warm and dry spring created the perfect conditions for toxic algal blooms in ponds, they say, warning property owners to keep livestock and pets out of water that is discolored or opaque. Unfortunately for Atkinson, the dominant species in the bloom was the toxin-producing species, microcystis. This blue-green alga, or cyanobacterium, is a potent liver toxin. Haynie said that when the Warnell team tested Atkinson’s water, the toxin level was so high they were out of test range. Her team treated the pond with algaecide twice to attempt to alleviate the bloom. Lawton Stewart, a UGA Extension animal scientist, said animals affected with the liver toxins often appear weak, exhibit muscle tremors, convulsions and have bloody diarrhea. The toxic algae has been found in one other pond less than 10 miles from Atkinson Farms in Dacula, Ga., and researchers say it is very possible these are not isolated incidents. Dr. Lee Jones with the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine has received other recent reports of livestock found dead near a shallow pond. An algal bloom is the suspected cause. Toxin levels of blooms can vary, he said, and toxicity depends on the amount of water ingested. “There are three types of toxins: neural, liver (or hepatic) and a skin toxin that can cause a severe rash and itch.” Atkinson’s cattle grazed in a pasture near the pond and drank the water for more than 40 years without any problems until May 5. That’s when his first heifer died. Losing one head of cattle is not unusual, he said, so they didn’t suspect trouble until a second one died on May 12. A third died on May 22 and the fourth died on June 5. By then, Atkinson and his veterinarian had developed a strong suspicion the pond water was the culprit. He moved the cattle away from the pasture and called Stewart at UGA. To help prevent blooms, leave vegetated buffers around ponds, limit livestock access and do not over-fertilize the surrounding area. Atkinson completely fenced his cattle off from the pond and is pumping water to a trough to hopefully begin remedying the situation. Pond owners also can contact their local UGA Cooperative Extension agent for more information. Pond owners can contact Wilde at [email protected] or Haynie at [email protected] if they suspect a blue-green algal bloom. The liver toxins suspected of killing Atkinson’s cows, however “usually do not cause sudden death,” he said. “Sometimes the animal may have colic symptoms like abdominal cramps, excessive drooling, lose their appetite and be very lethargic.” Sometimes the effects are even delayed, Jones said, and animals won’t get sick for three to four weeks after drinking the contaminated water. Color changes in a pond can be a clue that algae is blooming. Bright green water or water with a pea-soup-like surface scum should be avoided, and special care should be taken to keep pets and children away. “Pond owners should be mindful of the risks associated with toxic algae and take proper management steps to prevent or lessen the formation of an algae bloom,” said Rebecca Haynie, a toxicologist with the UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. “However, there are numerous species of common algae in the Southeast that are capable of producing toxin. So just because you have a bloom doesn’t mean you have something toxic in the water.” Pond owners who suspect their water is suffering from an algal bloom can purchase algaecide products from their local feed supply stores, Haynie said. She reminded pond owners to pay careful attention to the detailed labeling on these products, particularly because copper-based algaecides can be harmful to aquatic organisms, including fish. Using these products will only treat the symptoms so Haynie urges pond owners to address the causes of the bloom.
Farm breweries are popping up faster than the follicles on head brewer’s bearded faces.In 1979 Ken Grossman, founder and CEO of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, made his first commercial batch of American porter on a small scale brewing outfit he fashioned himself using repurposed dairy farm equipment and old soda bottlers. In those days, Grossman’s iconic Sierra Nevada brand was a far cry from the household name it is today. But once his concept of bringing well crafted brews to America’s long-deprived beer drinking populous caught on, it spread like wildfire.Thanks in large part to the early efforts of Grossman and others like him, today’s beer market is saturated with hundreds of styles, varieties, and brands. So saturated, in fact, that it’s almost impossible to keep up, and most craft beer connoisseurs like it that way. American beer has ceased to be a simple means to an end of inebriation. These days it’s considered by many to be a full on hobby—a passion even. Some folks brew the stuff at home in retrofitted basements and garages, while others crisscross the country in search of new breweries and emerging craft beer trends.The current trend of “farm brewing” is taking the craft beer industry’s focus on sustainability to a whole new level. These breweries have been popping up faster than the follicles on head brewer’s faces, and several have established roots right here in the Blue Ridge. As the name implies, these rural watering holes take the beer making process a step further by actually cultivating some of their own ingredients on brewery grounds, thereby creating “estate ales” that reflect a terroir unique to their location. The following list showcases some of the best farm breweries in the Blue Ridge and beyond.1. Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery — VirginiaThis rural Virginia farm brewery is set in the rolling hills of Goochland County about 45 minutes from Richmond. On the 220-acre farm that surrounds the brewery owner Sean Pumhprey cultivates hops and barley, as well as some interesting adjunct crops likestrawberries and pumpkins. The name Lickinghole Creek pays homage to a small tributary that flows through the property, and water for all brewing operations is drawn from a deep, on-site well before being filtered and returned the area’s watershed.The brewery and tasting room, modeled after a Virginia horse barn, are open to visitors Thursday through Sunday from 4 p.m. until sunset. LCCB’s artfully crafted offerings include such creations as the ‘Til Sunset Session IPA, the Pony Pasture Pilsner, and the Short Pump Saison. In the Fall Pumphrey plans to release an “Estate Series” which will utilize even more of the farm’s produce. Look for their beers in and around the greater Richmond area. For more information check them out on Instagram and Facebook, or go to www.lickingholecreek.com.2. Milkhouse Brewery at Still Point Farms — MarylandOpened during the Spring of 2013 by Stillpoint Farms owners Carol McConaughy and Tom Barse, the Milkhouse Brewery is Maryland’s first ever farm brewery. Their farmhouse brews include everything from delicate, Beligan-style Patsbiers to bigger, more hop forward IPAs and English bitters and are only available for sale in their Mt. Airy, MD taproom.Every August, Tom and Carol invite local home brewers and craft beer enthusiasts to their remote Fredrick County location for help with an annual hope harvest. All hops are then separated from the bines by machines that Tom designed himself. Those that aren’t used in Milkhouse estate ales are sold to local Maryland brewers like Flying Dog and Heavy Seas. Milkhouse also offers kegs and growler fills. www.milkhousebrewery.com3. Sprague Farm and Brew Works — PennsylvaniaSprague Farm and Brew Works is located in a rural portion of Pennsylvania’s Crawford County about thirty miles from the shores of Lake Eerie. In operation since 2006, Sprague is owned by husband and wife team Brian and Minnie Sprague. The farm produces four different types of hops and much of its own barley, which the Sprague’s then malt themselves in a modified popcorn machine.Brian Sprague has been brewing his own beer since he was nineteen, and he’s passionate about supplying his community with small-batch beers like his crisp, refreshing Marzen called the Spraguer Logger and the robust HellBender porter, named in honor of the giant salamanders that inhabit nearby French Creek. Most of Sprague’s beer is sold on the premises but some is distributed to local restaurants and bars. For information about visiting Sprague Farm and Brew Works visit www.sleepingchainsaw.com.4. Blue Mountain Brewery — VirginiaThe Pacific Northwest has long been America’s foremost supplier of hops, but lately the state of Virginia has become an important niche producer for craft brewers throughout the Southeast. Nowhere is Virginia’s emerging potential for small-scale hop production more evident than at the Blue Mountain Brewery. Located in the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge, about 5 miles from Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park, Blue Mountain has been at the forefront of Virginia hop growing since 2006.Today Blue Mountain is harvesting two different varietals annually, 150 lbs of which go into their “wet hopped/fresh hopped” harvest celebration beer. The brewery has also teamed up with Stan Driver of Hoot ‘n’ Holler Hops in Nellysford, Virginia to form the commonwealth’s very first hop co-op. If you can’t make the highly recommended trip to Blue Mountain’s brewery and taproom in Afton, be on the lookout for their beers all over Virginia and West Virginia as well as parts of D.C, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio, North Carolina, and South Carolina. www.bluemountainbrewery.com5. Jester King Brewery — TexasLocated in the hill country of Southwest Austin, Texas, Jester King embraces its status as a farmhouse brewery in one of the most traditional ways possible. Like the authentic farmhouse breweries of Belgium and France, the folks at Jester King have managed to harness the wild yeast already present on their 200-acre farm.They did so by inoculating a batch of wort—beer before yeast is added—during an over-night, open-air fermentation. They then sent the harvested yeast off to a lab for isolation. Add in locally sourced and malted grain and water drawn from nearby wells and you have a beer that is inextricably linked to the Texas Hill Country from which it comes. For information about distribution and taproom hours visit www.jesterkingbrewery.com.6. Climbing Bines Hop Farm — New York StateLike Virginia, the state of New York is enjoying a veritable hop growing and farm brewing renaissance. Thanks to newly implemented laws extending tax incentives to breweries that grow and utilize local ingredients, growth in the Empire State’s farm brewing scene has reached explosive levels. In fact, the state has recorded a total of fourteen farm breweries since the law was enacted back in 2013.One of the many New York state farm breweries enjoying success at the moment is the Climbing Bines Hop Farm. Located between Watkins Glen and Geneva near New York’s Seneca Lake, this hop farm and craft beer destination was conceived in 2007, when two home brewing buddies planted eight hop rhizomes in a small backyard garden. Today, Climbing Bines grows seven different hop varietals on 1.5 acres of land near the scenic shores of Seneca Lake. They brew nine different beers, including an imperial IPA and a hefeweizen that incorporate only estate hops and local barley. In addition to regular tasting hours and beer-centric events, Climbing Bines offers pre-scheduled tours of their scenic, lakeside hop farm. To learn more check out www.climbingbineshopfarm.com.7. Farm Boy Farms — North CarolinaAlthough Farm Boy Farms doesn’t actually brew commercial batches of beer at their Pittsboro, North Carolina farm, it would be careless to leave them off a list of this nature. After all, they do supply one of the countries most prolific craft beer states with home grown hops and barleyFounded in 2011 by a home brewer named Dan Gridley and his farm savvy father in law Michael Hagar, Farm Boy Farms is currently cultivating four different grains and five hop varieties, and they serve a region that is quickly becoming one of the nation’s most sought after craft beer destinations.Not only do Dan and Mike contend with North Carolina’s insatiable demand for home grown hops and grain, they also own and operate their own malt house—where the grain is germinated and dried to become malt—while educating home brewers and the public at large about the intricacies of small batch, hyper-local brewing. To learn more visit www.farmboybrewery.com–Travis Hall is a regular contributor to Blue Ridge Outdoors print and online. Find more of his work here.
2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr “Suspicious activity reporting forms the cornerstone of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) reporting system” and is critical to combating terrorist financing, money laundering, and other financial crimes.So says the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s (FFIEC) Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) Examination Manual.To that end, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) requires credit unions to file suspicious activity reports (SARs) with respect to these four situations: continue reading »
8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » Finally, relief for flood ravaged Houston seems to be near as Tropical Storm Harvey slowly churned toward the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday afternoon.But the departing remnants of Harvey’s backside continued to dump more rain in Houston where 56 credit unions collectively serve nearly 800,000 members and their families. In addition, reported levee breaches threatened to pour even more water onto roads and neighborhoods where homeowners are evacuated their flooded homes and vehicles. Since Friday, 49 inches of rain has fallen on the nation’s fourth largest city, which is a new record or the Lone Star State, according to national media reports.“Reports are now that the storm is moving Northeast more rapidly than previously forecasted,” said Craig Rohden, president/CEO of the $78 million Space City Credit Union. “If this happens, we should start to dry out over the next 24 to 48 hours. We stand by ready and able to assist our members when they need us. We anticipate many people will have flooded vehicles and homes.”
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 68-year-old North Amityville man was killed crossing the street in East Farmingdale Friday, Suffolk County police said. Wilfrid Bien-Aime was crossing Route 110 west to east just before 6 p.m. when he was struck by a 2011 Nissan traveling southbound, police said. Bien-Aime was pronounced dead at the scene by the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s office, police said. The driver of the Nissan, who stayed at the scene, was not injured, police said. The Nissan was impounded for a safety check, police said. The investigation is ongoing.
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Topics : Russia said Wednesday that it plans to begin production of two “promising” coronavirus vaccines in September and October as Moscow races to develop a formula before Western countries.At a meeting chaired by President Vladimir Putin, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova singled out two vaccines under development by a research institute in Moscow and a lab in Siberia.”Today there are two vaccines that are the most promising,” Golikova said. Production of the first, which is being tested by the Moscow-based Gamaleya institute and the defense ministry, is set for September, Golikova said.Another vaccine being developed by the Vektor State laboratory near the Siberian city of Novosibirsk should be launched in October, she added.Russia, which has the world’s fourth-largest coronavirus caseload, hopes to be the first country to produce a vaccine.Scientists in the West have raised concerns about the speed of development of Russian vaccines, suggesting that researchers might be cutting corners after coming under pressure from the authorities to deliver. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said it was important to achieve a finished product in a “careful and balanced way.””One should be absolutely certain in a vaccine,” he said.Kirill Dmitriev, the head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund which is financing the Gamaleya trials, said the country hoped to be the first to approve a vaccine.”It’s a Sputnik moment,” he told US broadcaster CNN, referring to the launch in 1957 of the world’s first space satellite by Russia. “Russia will have got there first,” Dmitriev forecast.Russia has reported more than 828,000 coronavirus cases and 13,600 deaths so far.