Moratorium to ensure rinderpest remains gone for good
After officially declaring the worldwide eradication of rinderpest one year ago, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) are now working to destroy samples stored in insufficiently protected laboratories to ensure the destructive livestock virus remains eradicated for good. It is calling for countries which are home to more than 40 laboratories that store rinderpest virus samples and biological materials to comply with a global moratorium on research that uses the live rinderpest virus in laboratories. The two organisations say that while some reserves of rinderpest virus should be kept to produce vaccines and for research in case the disease emerges again in the wild or is released as a result of an accidental or deliberate act, it was vital that non-secured stocks were destroyed. The official eradication of Rinderpest 12 months ago recognised that the virus no longer circulates in animals and continues to exist only in laboratories.
US scientists push for greater animal science research funding
A group of university department heads from across the US have established the National Association for the Advancement of Animal Science to advocate for increased federal investment in animal science. The association is comprised of representatives from animal, dairy and poultry science departments from colleges and universities across the US, who are dedicated to improving overall federal funding for animal agricultural research. “Federal funding for research, education and extension in the animal sciences has remained stagnant over the last 30 years, both in terms of real dollars invested and as a percentage of the USDA’s overall investment in science,” Dr Russell Cross, association president and head of the department of animal science at Texas A&M University, said. He said federal funding support was vital for the country’s top researchers to increase agricultural productivity and to meet projected growth in demand for agricultural products, which is expected to increase by more than 70pc by 2050.
Leucaena lovers head to Paradise
Paradise Lagoons near Rockhampton will be the venue for the Annual Leucaena Network Conference on Wednesday and Thursday August 1 and 2. The conference is being delivered by The Leucaena Network, with guest speakers including Stuart Buck from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF). The conference will also hear from researchers from the University of Queensland and a number of local beef producers who will outline their own experiences with leucaena. Paradise Lagoons, owned by the Acton family, is home to extensive plantings of leucaena. All of the pasture-fed winners at the recent Beef Australia 2012 prime cattle exhibition were finished on leucaena. To register for the conference contact Berry Reynolds of The Leucaena Network on 0418 928 222 or email email@example.com or Stuart Buck on 4992 9187 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Paradise Lagoons is situated on the Malchi-Nine Mile Road near Gracemere, approximately 24km outside Rockhampton. The property can be accessed from the south via Fairy Bower Road and via Ridgelands Road/Old Nine Mile Road from the north.
1000 jobs to go in Qld rural depts
News Limited papers have reported that up to 500 jobs are set to be shed from the department of agriculture in Queensland and another 500 from the Department of Natural Resources, under ongoing cost-saving measures overseen by the four-month-old Newman Government. Reports quote the public sector union Together which says it has heard consistent rumours that 1000 jobs will be lost in both departments. Agriculture Minister John McVeigh confirmed some cuts last Friday, but denied frontline officers or key services would be scrapped. The union estimates the Government has cut 10,000 public sector jobs since coming to power in March. Queensland public works minister Bruce Flegg said cutbacks were necessary to "get the state back on track”.
Time ripe to promote Australian ag employment
Federal agriculture minister Joe Ludwig says that with the forecast for Australian agriculture at positive levels and all of Australia out of drought for the first time in a decade, the time is right to promote job opportunities in agriculture. Australian agriculture employ about 320,000 people, across a wide range of occupations and with varying skill levels. He said Government and industry bodies had invested $1.75 billion in funding over five years to assist people to access the skills and qualifications they required to gain employment in agriculture. Students studying diplomas and advanced diplomas in areas such as agriculture, agribusiness management, aquaculture, animal technology, forest and forest products can now access a HECS-style loan to reduce upfront costs while gaining entitlement to Certificate III courses. The number of agriculture course places and government funded places in regional universities had been increased this year, and have been given the highest rate of government funding for higher education students. Through the National Workforce Development Fund, the Government had so far agreed to support 23 agriculture industry driven projects to support the training of 1205 new and existing workers, he said.