Issue Papers

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).

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).

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).
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).
Issue Papers - IP39 - July 2008
This Issue Paper provides a critical assessment of information available on methods of swine carcass disposal under routine and catastrophic conditions. The authors have focused on efficiency and effectiveness of available methods as well as potential animal health and environmental protection considerations. The paper addresses the four predominant methods of mortality disposal in commercial swine production--burial, incineration, rendering, and composting--and various alternative and nontraditional methods and technologies. Chair: Allen Harper, Virginia Tech Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Suffolk. IP 39, July 2008, 16 pp., FREE. Available online AND in print (515-292-2125; fee for shipping/handling).
Issue Papers - IP38 - May 2008

PART 7, "ANIMAL AGRICULTURE'S FUTURE THROUGH BIOTECHNOLOGY."Infectious animal diseases continue to rank foremost among the significant factors limiting efficient production in animal agriculture. In addition, infectious agents that are transmitted from animals to humans by way of food and water present an increasing threat to the safety and security of the world food supply and continue to affect human health significantly. Animal vaccines are among the most effective, successful tools for preventing and controlling infectious diseases in animal agriculture. This Issue Paper addresses these concerns and provides details about specific diseases and vaccines. Chair: Mark W. Jackwood, Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center, University of Georgia, Athens. IP 38, May 2008, 12 pp., FREE. Available online ( AND in print (515-292-2125; fee for shipping/handling).

Issue Papers - IP37 - December 2007

This Issue Paper identifies the nature of gene flow and discusses the relatively limited situations in which it is likely to cause economic problems in the production of commercial biotech crops.The paper explains how gene flow relates to adventitious presence, describes the biological traits being imparted into biotech crops, summarizes present risk assessment and regulatory mechanisms, and discusses potential economic effects and policy and research ramifications of gene flow of commercial biotech crops. Chair: David Gealy, USDA--Agricultural Research Service, Stuttgart, Arkansas. IP 37, December 2007, 24 pp., FREE. Available online ( AND in print (515-292-2125; fee for shipping/handling).

Issue Papers - IP36 - October 2007

Controlled human studies have revealed a diverse range of health benefits from consumption of probiotics, due largely to their impact on immune function or on microbes colonizing the body.This publication reviews the literature on probiotics, describes the characteristics of probiotics, discusses the microbes that colonize the human body, and explains how probiotics can treat and prevent disease.The paper also addresses safety issues of probiotic use, suggests future developments, and provides research and policy recommendations.Chair: Mary Ellen Sanders, Dairy and Food Culture Technologies, Centennial, Colorado. IP 36, October 2007, 20 pp., FREE. Available online ( AND in print (515-292-2125; fee for shipping/handling).

Issue Papers - IP35 - May 2007

PART 6, "ANIMAL AGRICULTURE'S FUTURE THROUGH BIOTECHNOLOGY."This paper describes the potential for transgenic livestock to advance the development of new medications for the treatment of human disease.Two techniques discussed in this paper are the predominant methods used to produce transgenic livestock, pronuclear microinjection and somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT).The paper offers a brief overview of current production methods and challenges, and addresses economic, regulatory, and societal factors that impact the commercialization of products and treatments derived from transgenic animals.An appendix provides an in-depth description of the SCNT methodology.Chair: Carol L. Keefer, University of Maryland, College Park. IP 35, May 2007, 12 pp., FREE. Available online ( AND in print (515-292-2125; fee for shipping/handling).