This Dairy Policy Review includes information on the Food & Drug Administration’s final BSE rule, on-farm feed safety management recommendations and the upcoming release of dairy genetics evaluations. This and other U.S. dairy industry news can be found here.

Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

FDA announces final BSE rule

More than a dozen years after a U.S. outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), the U.S. Food Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final rule designed to reduce the risk of the disease impacting food safety.

The U.S. has had measures in place to prevent the introduction and spread of BSE, sometimes referred to as “mad cow disease.” Three interim rules were announced in 2004, 2005 and 2008.

The FDA action seeks to minimize human exposure to certain cattle material that could potentially contain the BSE agent.

The rule additionally confirms that milk and milk products, hides and hide-derived products, tallow and tallow derivatives are not prohibited cattle materials. The FDA also finalized the process for designating a country as not subject to BSE-related restrictions applicable to FDA regulated human food and cosmetics.


Find the rule in the Federal Register.

CDCB to release U.S. dairy genetic evaluations

The Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) is now responsible for dairy cattle genetic and genomic evaluations.

A 2013 agreement, between the Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory (AGIL), United States Department of Agriculture and CDCB, outlined the transition. The process was completed on Dec. 17, 2015, and CDCB is now solely responsible for the cooperator database and the estimates of genetic merit published in the United States.

Dairy cattle genetic evaluations are calculated three times per year (April, August and December). The next evaluations will be released April 5.

USDA funding targets high-priority watersheds

USDA is directing $25 million toward high-priority watersheds to help agriculture producers improve water quality in streams and rivers.

Through the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI), USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will help agricultural producers in 187 priority watersheds apply conservation measures that contribute to cleaner water downstream.

This year, NRCS added 17 new watersheds to NWQI, while “graduating” 13 watersheds from the initiative because of marked water quality progress. Watersheds in several major dairy states have been identified for 2016 priority status. Deadlines for application vary by state. Contact your local USDA Service Center for more information.

See a map of the watersheds at the NRCS website.

In 2016, NRCS will also use a new evaluation tool to assess an individual farm’s current conservation practices, and identify areas for potential improvement, using such voluntary practices as nutrient management, cover crops, conservation cropping systems, filter strips, terraces and buffers.

FDA releases on-farm feed safety recommendations

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final version of nonbinding recommendations designed to ensure safety of animal feed fed on-farm.

As guidelines, they are not legally enforceable, but are intended to help animal producers develop on-farm practices to reduce contamination and other risks to animal feeds, whether produced on the farm or purchased.

The “Guidance for Industry #203: Ensuring Safety of Animal Feed Maintained and Fed On-Farm” addresses storage, transportation and feeding management steps designed to minimize the possibility of intentional or accidental contamination. They also discuss tolerance levels in contaminants occurring naturally in feedstuffs, such as mycotoxins.

Download the guidelines at the FDA website. (PDF, 110KB)  PD

Dave Natzke