AVMA releases compensation reports: The American Veterinary Medical Assn. (AVMA) recently released two reports that offer data on the veterinary medical profession: the "2013 Report on Veterinary Compensation" and the "2013 Report on Veterinary Practice Business Measures." AVMA said the veterinary compensation report provides information on professional earnings in private practice; public and corporate employment; earnings by years of experience, region and gender; employee fringe benefits, and income per hour. For example, this year's report indicates that in 2011, which is the year the survey was conducted, median income for private practitioners was $88,000-100,000 for associate veterinarians and $124,000 for practice owners. In addition, the report notes that the median professional income of veterinarians in public or corporate employment was $124,000 in 2011. The report on business measures provides data and trends on gross veterinary revenue statistics, financial returns and ratios in veterinary practice, key practice operating expense ratios and revenues according to service categories. More information on AVMA reports is available at www.avma.org.
Navigating environmental regulations: The "2012 Environmental Regulatory Audit of Animal Agriculture" provides poultry and livestock farmers with information about water quality regulations, air quality regulations, discharge restrictions and general permitting information plus facts about state and federal environmental assistance programs. The state-by-state audit, which is funded by the United Soybean Board (USB), aims to support poultry and livestock farmers by helping them keep track of environmental rules and regulations and wade through what can be a complicated web of regulatory language and restrictions. Having this information will not only assist these farmers with their own operations but could help them improve relations with their communities and neighbors, USB said. The report is online at http://tool.animalag.org/stateDocuments/2012/environmental/National_Environmental_Impact_of_Animal_Ag.pdf.
Whole Foods plans GMO labeling: Whole Foods Market announced last week that, by 2018, all food products supplied to its stores that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) must be labeled as such. The company, which has 331 stores across the U.S., said its policy responds to customers who have "consistently asked for GMO labeling." "We are putting a stake in the ground on GMO labeling to support the consumer's right to know," said co-chief executive officer Walter Robb. Whole Foods is increasing its support of certified organic agriculture, where GMOs are not permitted, and working with suppliers to strengthen the company's non-GMO supply system "to ensure that we can provide these choices in the future," he said.
Merrigan resigns from USDA: U.S. Department of Agriculture deputy secretary Kathleen Merrigan has resigned, according to USDA. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack noted in a statement that Merrigan "has helped USDA achieve record results over the past four years." Vilsack said she was "an important advocate for a strong National Organic Program" and has been integral in implementing important regulations, including the new school lunch rules. "She has played a vital role in the department-wide focus on the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, as well as our efforts to achieve budget efficiencies and savings during an uncertain budget time," Vilsack said. The announcement gave no reason for Merrigan's decision, and no timeline was given as to when she will officially be leaving.
Antibiotic bill: Rep. Louise Slaughter (D., N.Y.) reintroduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, which she said is "designed to stop the overuse of antibiotics on the farm." Slaughter, who has introduced the bill four times since 2007, said her new bill "is updated to reflect the severity of the growing crisis" of antibiotic-resistance bacteria. Slaughter claims that 80% of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are for agricultural use, and she's seeking to reduce their use for subtherapeutic purposes. The new text also clarifies the term "non-therapeutic use" to ensure that any use of medically important antibiotics outside of the treatment of a sick animal is not permitted.
Vitamin prices: DSM announced a price increase for its vitamin A, B2 and E products used in animal nutrition. Effective immediately, DSM said the price of all vitamin A and vitamin B2 forms will increase by 12%, and the price of all vitamin E forms will increase by 15%. All existing contracts will be honored at current prices.
Mike Watkins: Dr. Roy Michael Watkins, 70, passed away March 3 in Tulsa, Okla. Watkins grew up in Arlington, Texas, and graduated from Arlington High School in 1960. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Texas A&M University and a doctoral degree in nutrition from Mississippi State University. During his career, Watkins was an associate professor at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas; served as director of technical service at Diamond V in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; was nutritionist for Dairy Manufacturers in Prosper, Texas, and was most recently ruminant technical service manager at Biomin America in San Antonio, Texas.
Bigger bottle: Pfizer Animal Health announced that its EXCEDE (ceftiofur crystalline free acid) Sterile Suspension is now available in a larger, 250 mL bottle, which gives dairy and beef cattle producers and veterinarians a more convenient size of the product. EXCEDE is still available in 100 mL vials as well.
Extended expiration: Norbrook Laboratories Ltd. announced that the expiration date on its portfolio of Noromectin 1% injection and Noromectin PLUS Injection dewormers has been extended from 24 months to 36 months.
Injectable dewormer: Merial announced its new LONGRANGE (eprinomectin), the first extended-release injectable cattle dewormer for season-long parasite control that is designed to last 100-150 days in a single dose, depending on the parasite species. Merial said the product lasts long enough to break the parasite life cycle and reduce parasite burdens on pasture. When given at the recommended dose volume of 1 mL per 110 lb. of bodyweight, LONGRANGE is effective for the treatment and control of the nine species of gastrointestinal roundworms, lungworms, grubs and mites in cattle, the announcement said. LONGRANGE is a prescription drug and should be given only by subcutaneous injection in front of the shoulder at the recommended dose. The product is available in 500, 250 and 50 mL sizes.