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Issue Papers - IP44 - November 2009

Despite current uncertainty about the United States' economic future, most reports suggest that growth will resume and competition for freshwater will continue.As one of the largest users of water in the United States, agriculture will be impacted significantly by changes in water availability and cost.How water managers and users respond to water use challenges will determine, in part, the long-term availability of water for municipal, agricultural, and other uses.The authors provide insight into how water challenges are being addressed in four specific areas of the United States as helpful case studies in developing solutions to similar water issues in other regions.Chair: Dr. Sharon Megdal, Water Resources Research Center, University of Arizona, Tucson. IP44, November 2009, 20 pp.FREE.Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).

CAST Commentaries - QTA2009-2 - October 2009
This Commentary explores the interaction between the regulatory policy of the Endangered Species Act, public perception, and science in relation to the interpretation of risk to endangered species from various "stressors" associated with agricultural practices. In the absence of definitive government policy, courts are establishing risk mitigation procedures that may adversely affect agricultural productivity and practices. The authors address several potential remedies, including (1) better communication, (2) clear policy and agency coordination, (3) recognition and consideration of long-term impacts, and (4) balanced and consistent implementation. Chair: Bernalyn McGaughey, Compliance Services International, Lakewood, Washington. QTA2009-2, 8 pp., October 2009. AVAILABLE ONLINE ONLY.
Issue Papers - IP43 - August 2009

PART 8, "ANIMAL AGRICULTURE'S FUTURE THROUGH BIOTECHNOLOGY." This new paper, "Animal Productivity and Genetic Diversity: Cloned and Transgenic Animals," discusses two of the most recent reproductive technologies used to improve agronomic traits in livestock. One main limitation to the further development and use of these technologies has been the lack of public acceptance. The 8-member international Task Force of this new Issue Paper suggests that the government develop a regulatory process that addresses consumers' apprehension while offering realistic expectations of biotechnology. The authors address topics including the cloning of farm animals for breeding and direct food consumption; disease resistance in transgenic animals; and the use of transgenics for improved food safety and quality, decreased environmental impact, and increased production efficiency. Chair: Robert Wall, Agricultural Research Service's Animal and Natural Resources Institute, Beltsville, Maryland. IP43, August 2009, 16 pp. FREE. Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).

CAST Commentaries - QTA2009-1 - July 2009

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Fresh produce safety continues to be of paramount importance.While the fresh produce industry is striving to improve its food safety record, consumers must continue to be aware of practices in the home which raise the risk of foodborne infection from their fresh produce.This Commentary will update the related 2003 CAST publication by bringing together the current scientific research and recommended practices at the consumer level that will reduce the risk of produce-borne illness. Chair: William McGlynn, Extension and Research Food Science Specialist, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater. QTA2009-1, 8 pp., July 2009.AVAILABLE ONLINE ONLY.

Food Safety & Fresh Produce part 1

Food Safety & Fresh Produce part 2

Food Safety & Fresh Produce part 3

Special Publications - SP30 - June 2009

This new CAST Special Publication, "Sustainability of U.S. Soybean Production: Conventional, Transgenic, and Organic Production Systems," documents the ecological and economic implications of the various systems used in U.S. soybean production. Soybean production has changed in the United States since its first introduction in the mid-1880s. Initially, the crop was produced mainly for forage and received only minimal inputs. Today, soybeans have become a major source of protein in animal diets and vegetable oils for human consumption.Considering this dramatic change, CAST is providing a comprehensive literature review that evaluates U.S. soybean production systems currently in use with respect to their environmental and economic sustainability. Project Manager/Lead Author: Larry Heatherly, Agronomic Advisor, Seymour, Tennessee. SP30, June 2009, 96 pp.$18.00 U.S. (plus shipping). Quantity Discounts: Discounts are offered for purchases of 6+ copies of the same publication sent to a single address. Orders of 6 through 99 copies are discounted 25% from listed prices. Orders of 100 or more copies are discounted 35%.  Please contact the CAST office to place a discounted order.

Issue Papers - IP42 - March 2009
The use of individual gestation accommodations (IGAs) for dry sows in commercial pork production is an issue that has raised much debate. Public perceptions and misconceptions of welfare issues have the potential to dramatically impact swine production. The nine-member international Task Force of this new Issue Paper critically evaluates the scientific evidence of IGAs for sows, including considerations for behavior, nutrition and feeding, reproduction, clinical examination and health, manure management, worker safety, and system design. The authors indicate that no compelling evidence exists from scientific evaluations and comparisons of dry-sow keeping systems that, overall, either individual or group accommodation is more appropriate than the other. Chair: Stanley Curtis, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign. IP 42, March 2009, 20 pp., FREE. Available online AND in print (515-292-2125; fee for shipping/handling).
Issue Papers - IP41 - January 2009
When producers decide which carcass disposal method to use, they must consider the number of mortalities, the cause of death and whether infectious agents are involved, environmental implications, regulatory requirements, operational costs, and efficiency. This Issue Paper provides a comprehensive summary of the scientific, technical, and social aspects of various ruminant carcass disposal technologies using information gleaned from a Kansas State University comprehensive report. The authors discuss the predominant methods of mortality disposal in commercial ruminant production, including burial and landfill, rendering, composting, incineration, and alkaline hydrolysis. The paper includes an Appendix that addresses special considerations for material potentially infected with diseases. Chair: Marty Vanier, National Agricultural Biosecurity Center, Kansas State University, Manhattan. IP41, January 2009, 20 pp., FREE. Available online AND in print (515-292-2125; fee for shipping/handling).
Special Publications - SP29 - December 2008

This publication, "Fate and Transport of Zoonotic Bacterial, Viral, and Parasitic Pathogens During Swine Manure Treatment, Storage, and Land Application," is a collaborative effort of CAST and the National Pork Board to provide a literature review on topics directly related to swine manure management systems, bacterial hazards associated with swine manure, common swine viruses, and the fate and transport of zoonotic parasite pathogens. The majority of microbes contained in swine manure are not pathogenic to humans. The effectiveness of swine manure management systems to prevent environmental contamination with human pathogens is a concern, however, because of potential environmental pathways by which these zoonotic pathogens may be transported to water resources. The publication includes an Appendix and Comprehensive Reference Section with more than 400 citations. Cochairs: Dana Cole, Georgia Division of Public Health, Atlanta, and Jan Vinja, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia. SP 29, December 2008, 66 pp. $18.00 (plus shipping). Quantity Discounts: Discounts are offered for purchases of 6 copies of the same publication sent to a single address. Orders of 6 through 99 copies are discounted 25% from listed prices. Orders of 100 or more copies are discounted 35%.  Please contact the CAST office to place a discounted order.

CAST Commentaries - QTA2008-2 - October 2008
Concern about rising prices and unstable sources of petroleum fuels is driving the search for U.S. domestically produced, renewable transportation fuels, such as biodiesel, which is developing into a widely accepted alternative fuel. The U.S. biodiesel industry is struggling because of high prices for its feedstocks, vegetable oils, and animal fats. High feedstock prices also are affecting international biodiesel production, but requirements to lower greenhouse gas emissions continue to stimulate interest in the fuel. The authors of this new CAST Commentary explain the biodiesel production process and discuss quality requirements, characteristics of biodiesel, biodiesel economics, and energy balance. Chair: Jon Van Gerpen, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Idaho, Moscow. QTA2008-2, 8 pp., October 2008. AVAILABLE ONLINE ONLY.
Issue Papers - IP40 - October 2008
Methods for the disposal of poultry carcasses currently include burial, incineration, composting, and rendering. Although each method is preferable under specific circumstances, each also presents disadvantages, including potential effects on groundwater and increasing cost considerations. With those concerns in mind, there are other, emerging technologies for carcass disposal that may offer viable alternatives. Methods, strategies, and practical applications presented in this paper summarize acceptable means for disposal of poultry mortality. Chair: John P. Blake, Department of Poultry Science, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama. IP 40, October 2008, 20 pp., FREE. Available online AND in print (515-292-2125; fee for shipping/handling).