Weekly livestock news: June 19, 2023

Walmart set to build beef plant, creating end-to-end Angus supply chain

Walmart announced plans to build a case-ready beef plant in Olathe, Kansas, which will help create an end-to-end Angus beef supply chain for the retailer. The company- owned and operated facility is expected to open in 2025. Building on Walmart’s partnership with Sustainable Beef LLC, the plant will package and distribute a selection of Angus cuts from Nebraska-based Sustainable Beef to serve stores across the Midwest, Store Brands reports.

Upside Foods gets USDA approval for cultivated meat

Upside Foods announced that it has received USDA approval for the label on its cell-cultivated chicken, making it the second company in the United States to secure that approval, Reuters reports. Several companies are seeking U.S. regulatory approval for cultivated meat and fish products, aiming to appeal to consumers who are concerned about the environmental impact of raising livestock for food. California-based Good Meat on June 8 became the first company to receive the USDA label approval.

USDA grants license for Medgene to provide platform vaccine technology to pork industry

The USDA Center for Veterinary Biologics has awarded animal health company Medgene a license to produce and market a USDA-approved platform vaccine for the pork industry. The license applies to the use of Medgene’s platform technology to produce vaccines for disease targets such as rotavirus, porcine circovirus, influenza A and sapovirus. Medgene’s vaccine approach leverages a USDA-approved platform technology that is reportedly safe and easily adapted to multiple animal disease targets, leading to a better understanding of how diseases move across species and geographies in a fraction of the time of traditional vaccine approaches, according to the company.

Proposed SAFE Act aims to protect food exports in the event of an animal disease outbreak

If passed, the recently introduced Safe American Food Exports Act, or SAFE Act, would formally authorize the USDA to negotiate regional agreements permitting the export of agriculture products produced in parts of the country unaffected by an animal disease outbreak. Additionally, it would establish a notification system to protect U.S. producers from the impacts of trade status changes. The bill, proposed by U.S. House members, would amend the Animal Health Protection Act to establish a congressional mandate for regionalization agreements. The Secretary of Agriculture would be authorized to negotiate regionalization, zoning, compartmentalization and other trade agreements in the event of a known animal disease threat.

Swine sample program aims to speed up African swine fever detection

If African swine fever emerges in the United States, experts fear quick detection could prove difficult. Not only is it difficult to detect and easily confused with other diseases, there is a shortage of veterinarians available in the country to collect samples. In response, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, in collaboration with other entities including the National Pork Board, has developed a certified swine sample collection training program. Laypeople are trained to become certified under the guidance of an accredited veterinarian to collect samples for foreign animal disease diagnosis. Feed Strategy reports.

Researchers look for ways to reduce cattle fever ticks in the U.S.

Federal researchers in Texas are studying tools to help reduce the cattle fever tick population in the United States, including finding a more effective vaccine and developing a botanical pesticide. Although cattle fever ticks have been eradicated from the United States since the late 1940s, they are still present in other parts of the world and continually return to the border area of the United States from Mexico via deer, stray livestock and nilgai, an antelope species brought to the United States as zoo animals in the 1920s. The ticks adversely impact the meat industry by decreasing milk yields and increasing death and morbidity in cattle.