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Producers make changes after new antibiotic use rules

The two most common changes livestock and poultry producers are making in response to the loss of shared-use antibiotics are increased use of vaccines and better sanitation and biosecurity, according to a new study just completed by Brakke Consulting Inc.

The survey, “New Strategies for Health & Performance in U.S. Livestock & Poultry Production,” was conducted among beef, dairy, swine and poultry producers in late 2016. New antibiotic regulations and the Veterinary Feed Directive became effective Jan. 1, 2017.

Although there was some variation among species groups, vaccination protocols and improved sanitation were the top two strategies for 70% or more of all producers. Other strategies included reduced commingling of animals/birds, changes in feed additives, changes in facilities, use of immune modulators and changes in genetics (Table).

 

Management changes by order of importance

Strategy

% of producers

Vaccine protocols

74

Sanitation/biosecurity

70

Reduced moving, co-mingling

53

Feed additives

53

Facilities, animal/bird density

49

Immune modulators

38

Genetics

34

 

The most common change in feed additives was increased use of direct-fed microbials, also called probiotics. Other less common feed additive changes included increased use of enzymes, prebiotics, oligosaccharides, organic acids and phytogenics. More than 90% of poultry producers indicated that they were changing one or more feed additives in response to the loss of antibiotics — more than any other species group.

Although the study was conducted late in 2016, only half of producers said they had already made changes to their operations. About three-fourths indicated that they were ready for the changes, however. The poultry sector was the most prepared.

According to the study, there was widespread concern about the potential impact of the loss of shared-use antibiotics. Only 38% of producers believed that they would be able to maintain production and profit levels without them.

The study also rated perceptions of company image, product quality and customer service of individual animal health and nutrition suppliers, including pharmaceutical companies, feed additive suppliers and environmental hygiene companies.

Study reports are now available from Brakke Consulting for $16,000. To order the study or for more information, contact senior consultant John Volk, [email protected], (773) 327-4941.

Do prairie dogs benefit cattle grazing?

University of Alberta. University of Alberta Onefour ranch

Ranchers know that prairie dogs can reduce rangeland forage by as much as half, but prairie dogs may significantly increase the quality of the forage that regrows, according to research by University of Wyoming master’s degree student Lauren Connell.

Connell said forage clipping by prairie dogs maintains a younger plant growth stage that is palatable and significantly more nutrient-rich.

Her preliminary data are based on forage quality samples collected in June, July and August and biomass samples collected in August on and off prairie dog colonies from four sites in the Thunder Basin National Grassland in northeastern Wyoming.

According to the university, her research suggests that the prairie dog/livestock relationship mimics the historic prairie dog/bison structure. Perennial rangeland plants evolved with intense, short-term grazing by bison, and the grazing leads to new, highly nutritious leaves.

Prairie dog foraging and associated soil disturbance remove dead plant material, establish grasses and forbs in a high state of nutrition and maintain that quality for a longer period of the growing season, she said. “That can be a benefit to cattle,” said Connell, a student in the University of Wyoming department of ecosystem science and management in the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources.

The forage quality on prairie dog colonies was higher even as the summer progressed, while forage quality typically begins to significantly decline through the summer.

“It’s almost like extending the growing season, and those are all benefits to cattle and other wildlife,” she said.

Prairie dogs decrease forage and make holes, and producers worry about cattle breaking their legs stepping into those holes. Connell is well aware of the nuisance factor to ranchers and the conservation status of prairie dogs.

“We looked at whether there were trade-offs to be had between the two and looked at how prairie dogs can improve the quality of forage for cattle,” she said.

The samples from the prairie dog colonies had significantly higher values of crude protein, total digestible nutrients, in vitro true digestibility and calcium compared to the study’s control sites.

Researchers collected two types of samples: a composition sample of all of the grasses and forbs, and another of only western wheatgrass. Western wheatgrass is a highly palatable, nutritious and desirable forage for cattle.

Connell purposely included the biomass study to determine if prairie dogs eating mostly grasses caused a net loss of total forage biomass. Although the total forage biomass does tend to be lower on prairie dog colonies, there is substantial variation across the prairie dog colonies, making generalizations difficult, she said.

The reduction in total forage biomass is probably dependent on prairie dog density and colony age, she added.

Some test sites were on U.S. Forest Service land and some on private land. Connell said she was lucky to have local landowners and stakeholders involved and will provide them with the results. She believes they are waiting to see what the trade-off will be between quantity and quality.

“The biggest point people would argue — and they are right to argue — is the difference between quality and quantity or those trade-offs,” she said. “That is something we are going to tackle next. If you were going to decrease the biomass by this much, but it’s more nutritious, what does that mean for how many head of cows you can put out?”

Connell said finding ways for cattle and prairie dogs to coexist is critical and noted that simply categorizing prairie dogs or cattle as either good or bad is an oversimplification of this complex and controversial issue.

Winter ration considerations for beef cows

Feed costs represent more than half of the total cost in a cow/calf production system. The majority of feed costs are from feeding cows during the winter season, when most grasses are dormant. As a result, University of Illinois Extension commercial agriculture educator Travis Meteer said producers can greatly affect operation profitability by managing winter feed costs.

Meteer offered some options for developing a least-cost ration on a farm.

“Depending on your farm setup, available equipment and your willingness to purchase diesel fuel, your least-cost ration may look very different from your neighbors’,” Meteer said. “Availability and proximity to co-product feeds, such as corn gluten feed and dried distillers grains, may also shift your diet makeup.”

Hay is the traditional winter feed of choice, but its variable quality can lead to problems. “If hay is not sufficient in protein, energy and other nutrients, then cows may be malnourished," Meteer explained. “This may occur even though cows have all they can eat. Poor-quality forage and crop residues have a high proportion of fiber to protein, thus slowing digestion.”

Consequently, cows can eat only 1.5% of their bodyweight per day of low-quality forage. If the forage is of high quality, cows can consume around 3% of their bodyweight daily. “Poor-quality hay likely needs to be supplemented to meet cow requirements,” Meteer added.

With supplementation, cows can actually digest more low-quality forage — up to 2% of their bodyweight. Meteer explained that grain supplementation should be no more than 0.5% of the cow's bodyweight. “If the forage is of such poor quality that more supplementation is required, you should consider using co-products to avoid negative associative effects that occur when using grains,” he added.

“The most economical way to feed cows is to keep them grazing. Brassicas and small grains with corn stalks can be used to provide fall and winter grazing very economically,” Meteer said. “If the cattle need to be fed due to snow cover or other factors related to your farm, you should develop a low-cost method of feeding the cows. If your cows are thin or heavy milking, you will need higher-energy diets than the examples. If your cows are larger than the example, they will need proportionally more feed.”

Read more about winter feeding at https://web.extension.illinois.edu/oardc/eb275/entry_11983.

Ag outlook faces headwinds

USDA WASDE, Foreign Ag Service, Haver Analytics Beef production and exports

Exports may have helped give a boost to some agricultural commodity prices over the summer, but it only tempered the headwinds facing the U.S. agriculture industry, according to the latest ag outlook report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Mo.

Economist Cortney Cowley and assistant economist Matt Clark said livestock and animal products have been forecasted to decline sharply in 2016, and despite above-average export volumes in soybeans, corn and cattle, another year of record production could continue to suppress prices for most agricultural commodities.

Low commodity prices in late 2016 have put downward pressure on farm income, credit conditions, such as repayment rates for farm loans and farmland values. The report notes that declining repayment rates and lower farmland values have contributed to a weak financial outlook in the farm sector.

The outlook for all industries became much more pessimistic in 2015 and 2016, and bankers’ expectations for repayment rates across all categories have weakened. In comparison, in 2012, a majority of bankers indicated that they expected higher loan repayment rates for each agriculture industry, including corn, soybeans, wheat, cow/calf and feedlot operations. By 2014, as crop prices had receded and livestock prices were near record levels, bankers expected lower repayment rates for crop operations but higher repayment rates for cattle operations, Cowley and Clark write.

“After increasing at a slower rate for several quarters, values for non-irrigated cropland and irrigated cropland began to decline in 2015, and ranchland values started to fall in 2016,” the report notes. “In the third quarter, values for all types of farmland declined more than 6% from year-ago levels.”

“U.S. cattle prices have remained depressed this year due to expanding production and inventories,” the report notes. Although U.S. beef exports have not been above the recent range from 2008 to 2015, they have met or exceeded average levels every month in 2016.

However, the U.S. cattle inventory is also continuing to expand, the Fed report explains. Since 2000, the correlation between cattle inventories and cash prices is -71%, suggesting that a 1% increase in inventories has been accompanied by a 0.71% decline in prices.

“As the U.S. cattle herd continues to grow, cattle prices may remain suppressed, despite strength in export markets,” Cowley and Clark write. In recent years, beef consumption in Asia has grown at a faster rate than production, and this trend is expected to continue. However, growth in U.S. beef production is not expected to slow until 2020. “Therefore, U.S. producers will need to continue to take greater advantage of export markets to help support domestic prices in the midst of large supplies. If not, it may be closer to 2020 before production slows enough for inventories to decline and prices to rebound,” the report states.

USDA WASDE, Foreign Ag Service, Haver Analytics

Total exports of corn for the 2016-17 crop year are expected to be more than last year, but U.S. corn inventories are still projected to increase 30%, as corn inventories in the rest of the world decline 25%.

Prices for soybeans are higher than a year ago and, based on current futures prices, could continue to rise if export markets strengthen further, the Fed reports. Soybean exports over the summer are typically much smaller than exports in the fourth quarter. This year, however, exports were very strong through the summer and early fall, exceeding year-ago levels by up to 150% in August.

Despite strong exports for most commodities in 2016, prices remained lower than year-ago levels for all major commodities except soybeans.  Respondents to the 10th District "Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions" seemed to indicate that there still is a lot of pessimism in the agricultural sector throughout the district.

“Moving forward, if production of crops and livestock continues to expand at the current pace, agricultural producers in the United States likely will become increasingly reliant on international demand and exports to support domestic prices and farm incomes,” Cowley and Clark stated.

CFTC chairman Massad resigns

CFTC CFTC Commissioners Massad, Bowen, Giancarlo
Pictured in the chair is outgoing CFTC Chairman Timothy Massad. Behind him (from left to right) are Commissioners Sharon Bowen, Scott O'Malia (who previously left the agency) and Chris Giancarlo who will take over the chairman position upon Massad's departure.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) chairman Timothy Massad announced that he will step down on Jan. 20. His term as commissioner was due to expire in April. The move paves the way for Republican commissioner Chris Giancarlo to take the lead at CFTC and gives President-elect Donald Trump one more commissioner slot to fill when he comes into office.

“I came to the CFTC with a number of priorities, and I am proud we have made significant progress in every area. We have largely finished implementing the regulatory framework for swaps and have concentrated on the areas posing the greatest risk to the financial system. We have taken many actions to make sure commercial businesses can continue using the derivatives markets efficiently and effectively to hedge routine commercial risk and engage in price discovery,” Massad said in a statement regarding his resignation.

House Agriculture Committee chairman Michael Conaway (R., Texas) thanked Massad for his work at the helm of CFTC, noting, “During his confirmation process, he committed to listening to the needs of farmers and other traditional hedgers, and I am happy to have watched him follow through on that pledge. Both as chairman and as sponsor of the Agricultural Advisory Committee, Tim has given agricultural producers and processors a seat at the table and offered them meaningful input in the rule-making processes.”

Giancarlo is the sole Republican commissioner left, with Democrat Sharon Bowen. Giancarlo said he and Massad have discussed the importance of a “smooth transition,” and he expects to work closely with the CFTC staff in the coming days to ensure this outcome.

Ahead of the holidays, agriculture industry groups again highlighted the need to quickly fill the CFTC vacancies with individuals well versed in agricultural commodity markets and issues.

“We respectfully request that President-elect Trump, with the consent of the U.S. Senate, ensures the CFTC has at least one commissioner with a background in, and familiarity with, issues important to production agriculture and agribusiness. We appreciate your consideration,” the groups said in a letter to Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

The letter notes, “While derivative markets have grown beyond agricultural commodities and the CFTC’s regulatory footprint has been expanded, the agricultural futures markets remain as vital and integral to our farmers, ranchers and businesses as they were before the financial innovation that led us to today’s derivatives markets.”

With Massad’s departure, there will be three commissioner positions open.

Chromium propionate approved for use in Canada

Zased on extensive research conducted by Kemin Industries, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has approved the use of chromium propionate as a source of chromium in swine and dairy diets, which took effect on Dec. 15, 2016.

Kemin markets the feed additive as KemTRACE Chromium in collaboration with its exclusive distribution partner, Agri-Marketing Corp., based in Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Que.

With more than 20 years of research and development, chromium propionate is a proven source of chromium fed to millions of swine and cattle around the world. Kemin has established chromium propionate as safe and efficacious through numerous animal and laboratory studies. KemTRACE Chromium is currently used in dairy, beef, poultry and swine diets in more than 30 countries, including the U.S. and Mexico.

“The work behind our recent Canadian regulatory approval represents our commitment to register vital trace minerals to support increased efficiency and profitability for the livestock industry,” said Kemin president and chief executive officer Dr. Chris Nelson. “The approval from CFIA is significant as Canadian livestock producers seek safe, trusted ingredients to help meet today’s growing protein demand. Chromium supplementation is one of the many ways Kemin is an industry leader in advancing animal nutrition and health through innovation and science.”

More than a dozen peer-reviewed journal publications support the use of KemTRACE Chromium, an organic source of chromium, as an essential mineral needed to advance animal nutrition. Offering this nutrient to the Canadian market for swine and dairy cattle diets allows producers the opportunity to increase profitability and grow healthy livestock to meet consumer protein demand.

KemTRACE Chromium is manufactured at the company’s global headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, at a manufacturing facility recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and has the Food Safety System Certification (FSSC) 22000 as a rigorous food safety management system. The certification covers the manufacturing of food ingredients used for further processing, and is designed to deliver greater confidence in food, reduce health risks, lower audit costs, improve brand protection and improve supply chain management.

Dupps acquires Clapper Corp.

The Dupps Co. announced Jan. 3 that it has completed the acquisition of Clapper Corp. of Ankeny, Iowa. Founded in 1972, Clapper, a leader in protein co-product equipment service and distribution, has been an exclusive distributor for Dupps for 35 years.

“With the addition of Clapper, Dupps will broaden its industry-leading service organization, making it even stronger,” said Frank Dupps Jr., president of Dupps. “This will benefit our customers throughout North America, while Clapper customers can be assured that the top-quality service they have come to expect will continue, including full support of horizontal decanters and disc-type centrifuges.”

He also stressed the importance of Clapper’s experience and contribution to the industry, saying, “All of us are very grateful to Ted Clapper, Cory Kracht and the staff of Clapper for all the tremendous work they have done through the years. We’re delighted to announce that they will continue to work with Clapper and Dupps to ensure a seamless transition, and we look forward to expanding on their efforts in the years to come.”

Dupps is a worldwide leader in protein recycling systems and service. The company has focused on renewable resources, starting with rendering companies around the world that recycle millions of tons of animal byproducts every year. Dupps offers a comprehensive range of protein co-products processing equipment, service and support for red meat, poultry and fish meal applications.

The company said it continues to grow its capabilities, expanding its services to include oilseed processing, food waste de-packaging, pulp and paper dewatering and special process applications.

Guatemala to change tariff lines for chicken leg quarters

moodboard/Thinkstock raw chicken

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in Guatemala has learned that the Ministry of Economy (MINECO) will eliminate select tariff lines currently being used to import U.S. poultry leg quarters duty free outside the tariff rate quota (TRQ) of the Central American Free Trade Agreement plus Dominican Republic (CAFTA-DR). This will force U.S. poultry to enter under an out-of-quota tariff of 12.5%, ultimately affecting more than $55 million of chicken leg quarter (CLQ) exports that the U.S. sends to Guatemala each year.

FAS Guatemala said in a “Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) Report” that a small amount of U.S. CLQs currently enters Guatemala under the TRQ, which was set at 11,285 metric tons in 2015. However, more than 60,000 mt of additional U.S. CLQs entered outside of the TRQ that same year. FAS Guatemala said the large volume of out-of-quota imports entered at zero duty due to what was paramount to an administrative error that gave Guatemalan importers access to tariff lines for U.S. CLQs with zero import duty. The Guatemalan government plans to correct the error in 2017.

According to the report, the government, importers and poultry producers of Guatemala have an ongoing internal debate concerning the use of four HTS codes -- 0207.13.93, 0207.13.94, 0207.14.93 and 0207.14.94. These codes were created in 2006-07 outside of CAFTA-DR negotiations and were originally designed for use for regional trade among Central American countries. They were defined as poultry thighs, drumsticks and other pieces, including joined-together – which, by definition, is a CLQ. These tariff lines first appeared in 2008 with an import duty of 10.5% that decreased 1.5% annually. The tariff lines were never intended to be made available for use by importers of U.S. CLQs, but FAS Guatemala said they were mistakenly published under the CAFTA-DR tariff category, which made them available for U.S. CLQs.

“The tariff lines went unused until 2012, and by Jan. 1, 2015, the import duty of the disputed tariff lines reached 0%, which was the year Guatemala imported a record volume of chicken leg quarters outside the CAFTA-DR quota. These tariff lines allowed importers to circumvent the CAFTA-DR TRQ,” the FAS report noted.

In late 2015, however, FAS said Guatemala’s Customs tax and import duty collection agency (SAT) recognized the mistake and began changing the classification of U.S. shipments of CLQs under tariff lines 02071493 and 02071494 (02071393 and 0201394 were never used) to the CAFTA-DR out-of-quota tariff line 02071499B, which incurred a 15% import duty.

SAT also petitioned MINECO to change the Harmonized Tariff Schedule to eliminate the disputed tariff lines. On Feb. 4, 2016, MINECO accommodated SAT’s request and simply removed the codes from the MINECO posted tariff schedule on its webpage, without any announcement, notification or grace period for importers to make adjustments. This action led to an immediate reduction of imports of U.S. CLQs outside the CAFTA-DR TRQ. Importers complained and filed several lawsuits against MINECO and its officials.

A Guatemalan court ruled in June 2016 that MINECO did not have the authority to remove the codes since the Harmonized Tariff System is approved by Congress every year and can only be changed by Congress. The disputed codes, in essence, were then re-established, and U.S. leg quarters again entered Guatemala duty free, but only for the remainder of the calendar year.

Trade impact

In 2015, Guatemala imported a record 60,000 mt of U.S. CLQs out of quota. As of October 2016, Guatemala is on pace to import approximately 28% more leg quarters out of quota utilizing the disputed duty-free tariff lines.

“If importers have to pay 12.5% for these imports in 2017, it is likely overall imports will decline, and prices for chicken leg quarters will rise. In addition, the TRQ for leg quarters in 2017 will be reduced to 8,000 mt as per provisions under CAFTA-DR, further reducing U.S. imports imported at zero duty,” FAS Guatemala said. “The full impact on imports will not be known until the new policy is actually published and importers and exporters make their pricing adjustments.”

MINECO usually would have published the Harmonized Tariff Schedule by Dec. 15, 2016. However, FAS Guatemala was told that the delay in publication is due to the change in CLQ tariff lines.

European Commission postpones decision on ChemChina/Syngenta merger

The European Commission has once again extended the deadline for a decision on a proposed merger between China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina) and Syngenta until April 12, 2017, providing Syngenta and ChemChina another 10 days. In November 2016, the commission extended the original deadline by 10 days to March 29, 2017.

According to Syngenta, the two companies asked for another extension to allow "sufficient time for the discussion of remedy proposals.” The companies also said they remain fully committed to the transaction and are confident of its closure.

The European Commission announced Oct. 28 the launch of an in-depth probe to assess whether ChemChina's proposed acquisition of Syngenta is in line with the European Union merger regulation. The announcement came after ChemChina missed an Oct. 21 deadline for submitting so-called remedies in the EU’s early-stage review of the deal.

"This deal would lead to the combination of a leading crop protection company with one of its main generic competitors. Therefore, we need to carefully assess whether the proposed merger would lead to higher prices or a reduced choice for farmers,” commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said when the investigation was opened.

ChemChina extends public tender offer

ChemChina announced in late December that it had extended the tender offers to purchase all publicly held registered shares of Syngenta and all outstanding American depositary shares representing common shares until March 2, 2017, unless further extended.

As previously stated, extensions to the tender offers are expected to occur until all conditions to the offers are satisfied, including obtaining all applicable regulatory approvals. All of the other terms and conditions of the tender offers remain unchanged. ChemChina is aiming to obtain the remaining outstanding regulatory approvals in the first quarter of 2017.

ChemChina announced Feb. 3, 2016, its agreement with Syngenta to acquire Syngenta, but it has filed a series of extensions. Taking into account the previous extensions, the last one having been announced on Nov. 1, 2016, the Swiss offer was previously scheduled to expire at 4:00 p.m. (CEST) on Jan. 5, 2017, and the U.S. offer was previously scheduled to expire at 10:00 a.m. (Eastern) on Jan. 5, 2017. ChemChina has extended the Swiss offer until 4:00 p.m. (CET) on March 2, 2017, and extended the U.S. offer until 10:00 a.m. (Eastern) on March 2, 2017 -- in each case, unless further extended. As of 5:00 p.m. (Eastern) on Dec. 16, 2016, approximately 19,222,302 common shares had been validly tendered in, and not withdrawn from, the offers.

Texas A&M to establish center for vector-borne diseases

Texas A&M AgriLife Research recently received a substantial monetary boost to bolster its aggressive fight to stem the spread of vector-borne diseases for the public good, said Dr. David Ragsdale, Texas A&M University entomology department head.

Ragsdale said the $10 million, five-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention will be used to establish the Western Gulf Coast Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases — a virtual center partnership with the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston, Texas, serving as the lead institution. Dr. Scott Weaver, director of the UTMB Institute for Human Infections & Immunity and scientific director of the Galveston National Laboratory, is the project director.

“Texas A&M is involved in all aspects of the center, which has three main objectives,” Ragsdale said. “They include a research program to answer specific questions about the mosquito and the viruses they transmit; an educational program to develop the next generation of vector biologists to fill positions in private industry, local, state and national labs where vector borne-diseases are diagnosed and action plans are developed, and finally, there is an extension education program that is targeting the public with reliable information about mosquito control and the diseases they spread. The extension program will also inform cities and their staffs on how to properly conduct mosquito surveillance and control.

“The center’s task is to proactively find ways to stop the spread of vector-borne diseases,” he added, noting that Texas A&M AgriLife Research and UTMB head a "large collaboration of partners to achieve that primary mission.”

The center’s partners include public health organizations, top academic institutions and educational agencies and internationally recognized experts in vector biology, epidemiology, ecology and vector-borne diseases, Ragsdale said. Along with Texas A&M AgriLife Research and UTMB, those experts hail from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, University of Houston, Vanderbilt University and University of Texas at El Paso. There are also experts from six public health agencies and the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Ragsdale said Texas, especially the Rio Grande Valley, is the ideal region for the unique effort because the U.S.-Mexico border serves as the gateway for many vector-borne diseases entering the U.S., although he pointed out that the subtropical climate "is the real issue. The border is less of an issue, except it’s true there are a lot of travel-related disease cases in this part of Texas and, too, the right mosquito is there to cause local transmission problems, but regardless, this new center is meant to enhance both the regional and national capacity to anticipate, prevent and control emerging and exotic vector-borne disease.”

Ragsdale said destructive viruses spread by mosquitoes and tick vectors — including dengue, chikungunya, West Nile virus, Zika and a host of others — have a history of arriving, spreading or re-emerging in the U.S. Despite ample warning, the U.S. has had little success in protecting vulnerable populations and preventing these vector-borne diseases from spreading, he said.

“Failures stem from a variety of problems,” Ragsdale said. “Two of the main issues are the difficulties in controlling the A. aegypti mosquito, the main culprit in the spread of many of these diseases, and the decline in public health preparedness in recent decades.”

To remedy the ever-growing situation, the newly acquired funds will be used to:

* Support applied research to create new methods of vector and disease control;

* Translate scientific advances into real-world tools for the benefit of the public;

* Facilitate communication and collaboration among academic institutions, public health agencies, federal institutions and communities vital in controlling vector-borne diseases;

* Create an ongoing feedback loop between community needs and translational research results, and

* Train the next generation of leaders in public health entomology.

“The ultimate goal is to develop a fluid interchange among applied research, communities of practice and student and in-service education,” Ragsdale said. “By doing so, the Western Gulf Coast Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases will produce greatly improved methods and capacity to respond to mosquito- and tick-borne diseases.

“The improved predictive, surveillance and control methods, including the training of entomologists and the strengthening of public health partnerships, will have lasting impacts on the control of vector-borne diseases and human health now and into the future,” he said.