New BSE screening technology: A new screening method to detect elements in processed food and animal feed that cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) will be developed through a new licensing agreement between Florida State University and ELISA Technologies in Gainesville, Fla. Invented by Peggy Hsieh, a food scientist and Betty M. Watts professor in Florida State's department of nutrition, food and exercise sciences, the screening method uses a novel monoclonal antibody to detect the presence of bovine central nervous system (CNS) tissue in processed food and animal feed products. Consuming foods containing infected bovine CNS tissue is one of the primary causes of BSE transmission to people. The main advantage of the new test kit is its ability to detect the presence of CNS tissue even after the food has been exposed to high levels of heat, an announcement noted. Currently, there are no effective testing methods for food that has been heat processed, so contaminated tissue potentially could escape detection using established protocols. The new method also will be important for testing animal feed products in order to prevent the introduction of BSE-contaminated CNS tissue into animal populations. "The antibody developed by Dr. Hsieh is incredibly sensitive and robust, creating an assay that can detect as little as two parts per million of the target protein. This method will be a valuable tool for industry and regulators," ELISA Technologies president Laura Allred said.
DSM completes acquisition of Tortuga: Royal DSM announced April 8 that it has completed the acquisition of Sao Paulo, Brazil-based Tortuga Companhia Zootecnica Agraria -- a nutritional supplement company with a focus on pasture-raised beef and dairy cattle -- for a total enterprise value of about 440 million euros. Tortuga, a domestic market leader in organic trace minerals for animal nutrition and health, strengthens DSM's position in nutritional supplements and additives for ruminants and the company's presence in Brazil, a leading ruminant market globally, the announcement said. Tortuga also broadens DSM's animal nutritional ingredient portfolio with organic trace minerals while offering many value-creating synergies. Tortuga has 1,200 employees. Full-scale integration will now begin, led by a dedicated integration team of both DSM and Tortuga representatives, according to the announcement.
First Farmers buys Bank of Indiana: First Farmers Financial Corp. and Indiana Bank Corp. announced that they entered into an agreement April 5 under which First Farmers Bank & Trust will purchase a significant portion of assets and assume deposit liabilities of Bank of Indiana N.A. The trust currently operates 24 banking locations in Indiana and Illinois. Bank of Indiana operates four locations in Dana, Bargersville, North Judson and Hamlet, Ind. The transaction is expected to close within the third quarter and is subject to regulatory approval. Gene Miles, president and chief executive officer of First Farmers Bank & Trust, said, "The operational focus and service market areas of Bank of Indiana fit very well into the market footprint of First Farmers Bank & Trust. ... Both organizations have demonstrated a long-term commitment and understanding to agricultural and commercial services, with special attention given to individual customer care." First Farmers Bank & Trust is an independently held financial service provider bank based in Converse, Ind., with more than 475 stockholders and 40,000 clients in the Midwest.
Saturday mail: The board of governors of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) met April 9 and discussed the continuing resolution Congress recently passed to fund government operations. Language in the continuing resolution prohibits implementation of a new national delivery schedule for mail and packages that would have consisted of package delivery Monday through Saturday and mail delivery Monday through Friday starting the week of Aug. 5. Although "disappointed with this congressional action," the board said it has directed USPS to delay implementation of the new delivery schedule until legislation is passed that provides USPS with the authority to implement a financially appropriate and responsible delivery schedule. The National Farmers Union welcomed the change, noting that "many rural USPS customers depend heavily on weekend delivery, and eliminating it would have a negative impact on rural America."
Niacin plant: Lonza announced that it will temporarily shut down its niacin production plant in Visp, Switzerland, for a few weeks in May to perform routine maintenance work.
Phosphorus study: How consumers and farmers interact within the hydrologic cycle is becoming more and more important, specifically as it relates to nutrient runoff and management. Ohio farm organizations and agribusiness concerns recently funded a $1 million study to investigate phosphorus use in farming. The three-year project, led by The Ohio State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, will determine how phosphorus is used in agriculture, how it leaves farm fields and how much is actually entering the state's waterways.
Scoring apps: The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension has developed two new beef apps to help producers manage their beef cow herds. NUBeef-UTS is an udder and teat scoring app based on the Beef Improvement Federations' scoring system, and NUBeef-BCS is a body condition score app that allows producers to visually assess their cow herd using a numbering system that objectively describes the animal's condition or fat reserve.
Digestive support: Vets Plus Inc. has developed KlaTox Gel for large and small animals when they have digestive discomfort and disorders. KlaTox contains attapulgite clay, hydrated sodium calcium alumino silicate and kaolin, which help to maintain a healthy digestive system in the animal during times of stress. KlaTox is a ready-to-use gel that is easy to feed, and the 300 mL tube provides one convenient feeding for adult cattle, the company said.
New platform: Adisseo has introduced a new web-based communications platform, FeedSolutions.Adisseo.com, to offer nutritionists and livestock producers access to pertinent information. This platform shares information via videos, technical articles, news releases, an interactive forum and an events calendar, the company said.