In this talk today, I'd like to talk about implant technology, and how its utilized in beef production. The objectives for this talk, we're going to answer some questions that are commonly answered in reference to implants and beef production. So, those questions are going to be, why are implants or hormones used in beef production? What are implants and how are they administered? How do the implants actually work? And are implants or hormones safe for consumers? So, to start, let's talk about why do we implant beef cattle. So, for a little background information, most of the beef that's consumed in the United States is what we call grain fed or grain finished. And this is because most consumers in the United States prefer this tender cut of beef. And this beef comes from younger steers and heifers. The lifecycle of these animals, to understand that, these animals spend the majority of their life on grass pasture. However, they are finished for roughly the last 100 to 120 days in a feedlot. And in this feedlot, they're fed a balanced diet of forages, grains, minerals, and vitamins. We also implant animals based on whether they are bulls are heifers. And the reason for this is because bulls are neutered at a very young age. And we do this because it limits the natural hormones that the bulls produce. These hormones naturally cause aggression, and can lead to injury to themselves, the individual bull, or to other animals in the pen, or to humans that are working with the animals. Young heifers also need to be supplemented, because they produce smaller amounts of these natural hormones. So, the supplemented hormones we use, this allows for the regain of some of the growth loss from the neutering of the animals. And these supplemented hormones are essentially just a small, small fraction of the natural hormones that are normally produced by these animals. Economically we implant because it increases the growth rates 10 to 20%, which allows a decrease in the cost of production of 5 to 10%. These cost savings then are passed on to the consumer, and this leads to a more efficient production, which requires less feed and land resources. So, what specifically are implants? Implants are small pellets that contain growth stimulants. And these are released slowly over time. They are specifically designed for certain animals. And it depends based on their sex, male or female, their age, or their stage of production through the system. The pellet is implanted behind the ear, as shown in the graphic below, and it utilizes an implant gun with a hypodermic needle. The pellet is placed behind the ear, it goes into the subcutaneous tissue right underneath the skin and it dissolves slowly over time, releasing the hormones. The ear site is used for this because the ear is removed and not utilized when it comes time to process the animal. The active ingredients that are found in implants are mostly natural occurring hormones, and this includes estradiol and progesterone and testosterone. So, these are the normal hormones that are made. However, they stop when we neuter the animal. So, we implant them to recover some of this. There's also some synthetic options, such as the zeranol and trenbolone acetate. We can also further divide the ingredients that we use in the hormones into estrogenic, which means they affect the female qualities. This is estradiol, progesterone, or zeranol. And then androgenic, which means it affects male qualities, such as testosterone and trenbolone acetate. So, we have several different options, naturally occurring, and then also synthetic options. And then we can use them depending on male or female. How did the implants actually work when we place them in the animal? Essentially, what implants do is it alters the nutrients that the cattles consume. So, it does this by enhancing muscle growth and lessening the amount of fat that's deposited. So, rather than depositing fat, the animal will deposit muscle. It is more efficient from a production standpoint to produce muscle. The animal grows faster, with less feed consumption, when we put down muscle versus fat. There's a benefit to this for the consumer, because implanted cattle are leaner. They have less fat content. And based off that, they contain fewer calories. So, it's a more healthier product for the end consumer. So, are implants safe, both for the consumer and for the animal? implants have been regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration since 1954. And this includes some very rigorous testing, which includes a breakdown of the products in the environment after they've been used. And then any synthetic options that we use, these residues are routinely monitored in the animal to see how much of it's left, and make sure it's at a safe level. Natural hormones are not tested. The reason for this is because it's the same hormones, however, a much smaller amount than is typically produced by the animal. Table 1 below shows an example chart listing several different options of vegetable-based products and also animal-based products. And the estrogenic activity per 500 grams service. So, soy flour contains over 7 million parts of estrogenic activity per 500 grams serving, being one of the highest estrogenic-based products we have. The top five items on the ingredient list are all vegetable-based. However, the eggs, butter, milk, and then beef from implanted and non-implanted steers is much, much smaller. So, the takeaway point from this is there's estrogenic activity in all different types of food types. But it's very much more prevalent at higher levels found in some of the vegetable products that we eat. Beef from implanted steers and beef from non-implanted steers is actually quite low on the list. It has very, very small levels of estrogenic activity. So, some of the consumer questions that often come around to, are implant safe? One of the questions that comes up very frequently is cancer and early onset puberty in children related to implanting in beef. Exposure to high levels of implanted beef has never been scientifically implicated in the onset early puberty or cancer in children. However, factors such as height, weight, diet, and exercise history have been directly linked to cancer and early puberty in children. Diethylstilbestrol or DES was found to be carcinogenic in the 1970s. And this was actually a hormone supplement that was being used in people. However, small doses were used in beef implants. It was found to be carcinogenic, and it was banned from cattle implants in 1979. So, Table 2 below shows the estrogen production in humans and potential estrogen intake from implanted beef. And how the estrogen activity in humans, how that compares to what we see in beef. So, a pregnant woman or a non-pregnant woman, and even the adult man, has far higher estrogenic activity than you would see in a 500 gram portion of beef from an implanted cattle. So, our normal, typical, circulating estrogen activity in humans is far, far higher than what we would find in a serving of beef. So, in summary, we talked about why are implants used. Because they are used to safely produce a higher quality beef, and it's made more efficiently for the end consumer. What are implants and how are they used? Implants are small pellets that contain natural or synthetic hormones, and there's different activity for these hormones. And they are used at different stages of production. How do implants work implants work? They result in greater muscle growth and less fat. And implant safety, are implant safe? Implants are highly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and the levels are very, very small compared to non-implanted beef or other feed ingredients, including vegetables.