Meat Consumption Expected to Rise

Lowell Catlett On Ag, Part Three

Meat Consumption Increases as Population Rises

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

Lowell Catlett, who is a Regents Professor emeritus in Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business and Extension Economics and was the Dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University until he retired in 2015, told California Ag Today that increased income for the lower to middle classes is leading to an increase in meat consumption.

“As their incomes rise and they want to change their diets,” Catlett explained, “the first change they want to make is meat-based proteins. When we [isolate] just the income effect of the world getting more money, we must increase global meat output in the next 20 years by 50 percent. As of 2014, the average adult American consumed approximately 198 pounds of meat annually. By 2024, that number is expected to rise to 207.5 pounds.”

A surge in meat consumption requires increased grazing acreage for those production animals. “If the world grows to 9 billion people,” Catlett said, “we must double meat-based proteins — whatever they may be. I maintain most will come from intensive animal operations that are well-managed, more efficient, have a small impact on the environment, and cater to the overall physical health of the animal.”

“We’ll be doing most of that global meat supply in the United States because we have the infrastructure to provide those intensive animal operations,” Catlett said.

2021-05-12T11:17:10-07:00March 28th, 2017|

Agriculture Science Recognition Awards, Part 3

Nick Wolfenden Honored With Fresno State Science Recognition Award

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor

Nick Wolfenden, a graduating senior at California State University, Fresno (Fresno State), who majors in animal science and livestock management was honored with three other Fresno State science students in mid-March.

“Nick has made it his mission to educate the ag community and the public about the growing spotlight on the importance of animal welfare,” said California Assemblyman Jim Patterson, who honored the Fresno State students, along with Sandra Witte, dean of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at Fresno State and Lawrence Salinas, Fresno State’s executive director of government relations.

Fresno State Animal Welfare Club (Source: Facebook)

Fresno State Animal Welfare Club (Source: Facebook)

“Nick says his greatest achievement at Fresno State was starting the Animal Welfare Club,” said Patterson. “The club has made a great impact on his fellow students by giving them the facts and skills to teach each other about the focus on the health and welfare of animals in production agriculture.”

As the club’s founder and president, Wolfenden started a movement to get donations to update Fresno State’s school farm so the animal welfare practices used by students would reflect the visions, values and beliefs of Fresno State. These changes have benefited both the animals and the students who care for them.

For a broader perspective, Wolfenden interned with the American Humane Association and became a key player in their Farm Animal Welfare Program. His drive and his passion have been noticed by several organizations and companies across the country who would like him to oversee their divisions.

“In 2015, Nick was honored as both the Outstanding Poultry Science Student and Outstanding Equine Science Student at Fresno State, given by the faculty to the animal science department students who make an impact in their field,” noted Patterson. “He also is an advisor to the Poultry Science Club, member and student advisor to the Equine Science Club, and has been the Future Farmers of America (FFA) Field Day Contest chair in both equine and poultry.”

Wolfenden believes he has the drive and determination to continue to make a significant difference in the lives of farm animals and in the industry that raises them and brings them to market. And he wasted no time in getting a good job offer from Tyson Foods at their global headquarters in Springdale, AR, to begin after graduation. “I’ll be working in their sustainability department helping to oversee their animal welfare division,” Wolfenden said.

“I think every farmer and rancher has to be passionate about their animals’ welfare,” said the senior. “We are making huge steps and big leaps in improving animal welfare and we see that across all industries,” he noted.

2021-05-12T11:17:14-07:00April 5th, 2016|

Avian Influenza

Waterfowl  Migration Flyways Have Poultry Industry on Guard

By Brian German, Associate Editor

We are at the peak of migrating bird traffic flying north to south, and poultry operations throughout California and the rest of the country are looking skyward with dread. The industry aims to detect all flyways as migrating birds are suspected of spreading Asian Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) A (H5N1) virus that devastated the poultry business last year throughout the Midwest with some lesser problems in California. In fact, more than 48 million birds, primarily turkeys and laying hens, were infected and had to be depopulated last year throughout the Midwest.

“These global flyways waterfowl use to move north and south and back again every year are basically like freeways,” said Maurice Pitesky, a Veterinarian and UC Cooperative Extension assistant specialist and UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine lecturer in Population Health & Reproduction. “And in those freeway lanes,” he continued, “different birds interface with each other. We have a Pacific flyway that covers California, which can interface with the East Asia and Australian flyways. If you look at the genetics found in North America, especially in California, the genetics match some of the HPAI found in South Korea.”

Locating birds in flyways can alert poultry operations to implement immediate measures to prevent potential HPAI spreading on anything on the outside or inside of the poultry house.


Feral Swine Also a Problem

Pitesky noted a great abundance of feral swine in California, and the geographical extent is poorly understood. “But what we do know with respect to influenza is that although feral swine, and swine in general, are unique species, influenza viruses from humans and influenza viruses from birds can infect swine. That represents one of the ways we get new strains of Avian Influenza that could adversely affect all animals, including birds and potentially humans,” he noted.

Of course, poultry HPAI is not a problem for humans. Pitesky noted, “When people say ‘highly pathogenic,’ it has nothing to do with whether humans get it or not. The ‘highly pathogenic’ label is specifically for birds in that it makes birds sick. There is no evidence any of those strains we found in North America are zoonotic, meaning able to infect humans, at this point,” he said.



Biosecurity Explained – 6 Simple Steps

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) wants to help poultry owners keep their birds healthy by practicing biosecurity to reduce the chances exposure to animal diseases such as avian influenza (AI) or exotic Newcastle disease (END).

APHIS advises the following consistent daily biosecurity practices:


The USDA’s Fall 2015 HPAI Preparedness and Response Plan to preventing and responding to future HPAI cases, in collaboration with industry and State partners, includes:

 Promoting improved on-farm biosecurity practices in order to prevent future HPAI cases to the greatest extent possible

 Improving HPAI surveillance in wild birds as a means to provide “early warning” risk information to States and industry

 Expanding Federal, State and industry response capabilities, including availability of personnel, equipment, and depopulation, disposal and recovery options

 Improving USDA’s capabilities to rapidly detect HPAI in domestic poultry and to depopulate affected flocks within 24 hours to reduce the environmental load of HPAI viruses and their subsequent spread

 Streamlining the processes for payment of indemnity and the cost of eliminating viruses so that producers receive a fair amount quickly, to assist them in returning to production

 Enhancing our ability to communicate in a timely and effective way with producers, consumers, legislators, media, and others regarding outbreaks and other information

 Making preparations to identify and deploy effective AI vaccines should they be a cost beneficial addition to the eradication efforts in a future HPAI outbreak.



UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine 

2015 Avian Influenza News (Bird Flu)

California Animal Health and Food Safety (CAHFS) Laboratory System



Poultry Facility Biosecurity Risk Assessment Guide: “We will always be one step ahead.”

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak in the United States

Avian Entry Requirements into California Update



Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

2015 Avian Influenza News 

Avian Influenza Disease


2021-05-12T11:17:15-07:00December 22nd, 2015|



By Laurie Greene, Editor

First detected in the U.S. in 1987, Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRS Virus or PRSSv), a recently recognized incurable viral disease of pigs that can cause animal reproductive failure, reduced growth and premature death, costs American farmers approximately $600 million in damages each year.[1] Genus PIC, a global pioneer in animal genetics, announced the development of the first pigs resistant to PRRS Virus through a long-standing collaboration with the University of Missouri’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. Specifically, they bred pigs that do not produce a protein necessary for the virus to spread.

The swine industry is invaluable to California’s agriculture, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), and the demand for swine in California is increasing greatly. Expanding ethnic populations have created new demands in the marketplace.

CDFA’s Animal Health Branch aids in the management of swine diseases because of the highly contagious nature of some diseases to swine, other species of livestock and/or people. Due to expanding international trade and travel, highly transmissible foreign animal disease can spread rapidly if undetected or detected but not reported.

Currently, CDFA participates in monitoring for PRRSv through the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System; however, since no vaccine has been effective and no control program has been proposed, preventing the spread of PRRSv within and between pig populations is a critical component of a farm’s disease control program.

CDFA Animal Health and Food Safety Services’ swine health experts recommend farmers look for blisters on hooves and on the snout, unusual or unexplained illness, hemorrhagic septicemias, unusual skin lesions ranging from cyanotic patches on the ears and abdomen to raised, scabby lesions mainly on the legs, high morbidity or mortality. If you suspect you are dealing with such a disease, contact CDFA at (916) 900-5002 or your district office.

Genus is dedicated to the responsible exploration of new innovations that benefit the wellbeing of animals, farmers, and ultimately consumers. PIC, a subsidiary of Genus, is the global leader in providing genetically superior pig breeding stock and technical support for maximizing genetic potential to commercial pork producers. PIC has been delivering genetic improvements for over 50 years.

The University of Missouri has signed a global licensing deal for future commercialization with Genus. If development continues, Genus will seek approvals and registration from governments before a wider market release. Genus expects that it will be at least five years until PRRSV resistant animals will be available to farmers.

(Photo Source: USDA)

[1] Holtkamp, Derald J.; Kliebenstein, James B.; Zimmerman, Jeffrey J.; Neumann, Eric; Rotto, Hans; Yoder, Tiffany K.; Wang, Chong; Yeske, Paul; Mowrer, Christine L.; and Haley, Charles (2012) “Economic Impact of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus on U.S. Pork Producers,” Animal Industry Report: AS 658, ASL R2671. Available at:



Basi, Christian, Pigs that are Resistant to Incurable Disease Developed at University of Missouri: Discovery about PRRS virus could save swine industry hundreds of millions of dollars; Exclusive deal signed with global leader in animal genetics, December 8, 2015

CDFA Swine Health Information And Resources

California Pork Producers Association

Genus tackles major pig disease with breakthrough technology, December 8, 2015

Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS)

Schmidt, Stephen, Big Cat Collaboration: CAFNR geneticist teams up with Kansas State researcher to make PRRSv-resistant pigs, December 8, 2015

2016-05-31T19:27:01-07:00December 16th, 2015|

Outlook on California Poultry

Bill Mattos: Outlook for California Poultry Industry

By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor

California’s poultry industry has a positive outlook for the coming year despite the recent outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza plaguing the rest of the nation’s poultry industry. Bill Mattos, president of the California Poultry Federation, said the coming year will see chicken overtaking beef.

“We’re learning from a lot of economists that we are going to have an exciting year for poultry next year and into the future,” Mattos said. “It looks like chicken is taking over beef next year, and all of poultry will be ahead of the red meats. We love our beef and pork friends, but we’re passing them. It looks like the healthfulness of chicken and the capacity to grow locally—everything in California—is looking good for the poultry industry. And we’re excited. We think the chicken and turkey industries will have a good year coming up.”

And although the price of corn is still higher in California versus nationally, Mattos said this industry is still doing well. “We still pay about a dollar or more a bushel for corn in California. But prices are outstanding compared to what they were two or three years ago, so our companies are making some money.”

With the flyways, or bird migration, coming back this fall, Mattos said the California poultry industry is prepared with increased biosecurity on their farms and ranches to prevent an avian influenza outbreak. Mattos said, “It’s very important that we make sure our companies are locking down their facilities—keeping visitors off and maintaining a biosecurity that’s first in the nation—because any type of bird flu that could invade here and spread would devastate the marketplace.”


California Poultry Federation

2016-05-31T19:27:07-07:00October 9th, 2015|

High Pricing Keeps Tulare County Ag #1

Tulare County Ag Tops all Counties

By Laurie Greene, Editor

The 2014 crop report from Tulare County indicates another record-setting year. Marilyn Kinoshita, Tulare County Ag Commissioner, noted how well the dairy industry did, “30% of our overall value was actually milk, so dairy is incredibly important to our county. They had some good prices for most of the year. That is what brought up the value of milk to $2.5 billion. It is a significant increase over the prior year. A little bit more yield, but it is the price that kicked up well over two billion dollars.”

Tulare County Ag sales topped $8 billion in 2014, and the dairy industry overcame significant pricing obstacles to contribute to the County’s success.

Kinoshita continued, “We’ve got several classes of milk, and California producers are at a disadvantage to the other folks in Wisconsin or Nebraska, or wherever milk is produced. California producers feel singled out. They have their own system by the Secretary of Ag, so they have lobbied to get some hearings to be put under the federal system of pricing. California is lower than the federal standard.”

Citrus sales also played an important role in setting the new sales record, she said, “They had a really good year and went up considerably. So there is our number three crop. We are the nation’s number one citrus county. When our growers are having a good year, it benefits the county. We have 71 citrus packing sheds in our county and all the major juicing plants in California are right here.”

Kinoshita also mentioned some of the ways that citrus has become the number three crop, “It is sort of supply and demand, and great marketing. We ship to 90 different countries around the world. A portion of our production is exported.”

In 2014, livestock in general was up 40%, which also made an impact on sales in Tulare County, “You’ll find when you go to a grocery store that steaks, chicken, and turkey all cost more. So all of our species had an increase in price per unit for this crop reporting year.”

2016-05-31T19:28:06-07:00August 30th, 2015|

2014 Fresno County Crop Report Sets Record Production

2014 Fresno County Crop Report Sets Record Production — $7 billion+

Les Wright, Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer submitted the following information to Karen Ross, California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary, TODAY accompanied by the 2014 Fresno County Crop Report showing record production.

It is my pleasure to submit the 2014 Fresno County Agricultural Crop and Livestock Report. This report is produced in accordance with Sections 2272 and 2279 of the California Food and Agriculture Code, and summarizes the acreage, production, and value of Fresno County’s agricultural products. The figures contained herein represent gross returns to the producer, and do not reflect actual net profit.

Jacobson, Wright and Matoian

Photo, from left, Ryan Jacobson, Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO, Les Wright, Fresno County Ag Commissioner and Richard Matoian, American Pistachio Growers Executive Director

This report is a testament to the resiliency and determination of the Fresno County agricultural industry. For the first time ever, the gross value of Fresno County agriculture exceeds seven billion dollars. Almonds remain the number one crop at a value of 1.3 billion dollars with grapes a close second at $905 million.

The total gross production value of Fresno County agricultural commodities in 2014 was $ 7,039,861,000, a 9.26 percent increase from the 2013 production value of $6,443,236,500.

Increases were seen in:

  • vegetable crops (0.47% = $5,599,000)
  • fruit and nut crops (13.16%= $422,664,000)
  • nursery products (46.89%= $20,022,000)
  • livestock and poultry (31.48% = $301,144,000)
  • livestock and poultry products (22.09% = $116,299,000
  • apiary (17.39% = $10,738,000)
  • industrial crops (107.05% = $3,795,500).

Decreases in:

  • field crops (-36.20%= -$149,822,000)
  • seed crops (-14.67%= -$5,823,000).

I would like to express my appreciation to the many producers, processors, and agencies, both private and public, who supported our efforts in producing this report. I would also like to thank all my staff, especially Fred Rinder, Scotti Walker, Angel Gibson, Vera Scott-Slater, and Billy Hopper. Without their hard work and valuable input this report would not be possible.

Pistachios, featured on the cover of the 2014 Fresno County Crop Report, were Fresno County’s seventh top crop last year, with a value of nearly $380 million dollars.

The top nut—and crop, for that matter—was almonds, followed by grapes, poultry, milk, cattle and calves, tomatoes, pistachios, garlic, peaches and cotton.

Also included in the report was this quote from President John F. Kennedy:

Our farmers deserve praise, not condemnation; and their efficiency should be cause for gratitude, not something for which they are penalized.

2016-05-31T19:28:06-07:00August 25th, 2015|

WIFSS Animals in Disasters Courses Piloted in Sonoma

2015 WIFSS Animals in Disaster Course Series

Source: Chris Brunner; UC Davis Western Institute for Food Safety and Security


Without coordinated response, awareness and resources, those animals left behind in a natural or man-made disaster most often do not survive. The Western Institute for Food Safety and Security (WIFSS) offers a series of Animals in Disasters courses that help prepare first responders and community members for animal-related emergencies.

WIFSS instructors, Tracey Stevens, deputy director, Animals in Disasters Project, and Dr. Michael Payne, dairy Ooutreach coordinator, piloted two new Department of Homeland Security Animals in Disasters courses this summer in Sonoma, California.

Class participants in “Emergency Animal Sheltering: Veterinary Considerations” learned skills and knowledge on how to establish an emergency animal shelter, and how to safely shelter and reunify animals that have been displaced during a disaster. In the “First Responder Guidelines for All Hazards Large Animal Emergency Evacuation” class, emergency personnel were provided instruction on safe approaches to emergency evacuation of large animals.

First responders, county officials, animal services personnel, veterinarians and other individuals can look forward to the 2015 WIFSS Animals in Disaster Course series which, in addition to the two courses above, will include:

  • Guidelines for Establishing an Emergency Animal Shelter: Veterinary Considerations – CE approved
  • Loose Livestock, Injured Wildlife and Humane Euthanasia of Animals for First Responders
  • First Responder Guidelines for Equine Emergencies – Level 1
  • Veterinarian Integration into Multi-Agency Emergency Equine Rescue and Disaster Response – CE approved

View WIFSS Animals in Disasters for announcements of course dates and registration information.

2021-05-12T11:17:15-07:00October 1st, 2014|
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