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Scientist pleads guilty in rice seed theft case

A 61-year-old scientist has pleaded guilty to a federal charge nearly three years after he was accused of stealing proprietary seeds developed in the U.S. and giving them to a delegation visiting from China.  Wengui Yan, of Stuttgart, Ark., pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Kansas City, Kan., to one count of making false statements to the FBI, the Justice Department said in a release.  Yan was a geneticist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the Dale Bumpers National Research Center in Stuttgart, when he was originally charged in December 2013.

Research: Viral pathogens can move from country to country through feed

Foreign animal diseases can enter the United States via feed imports from high-risk countries, according to new research from the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC).  Until recently, the industry wasn’t sure whether pathogens moved through feed imports from high-risk regions, largely because little research had been conducted.  But the research, conducted by Scott Dee at the Pipestone Applied Research, Pipestone Veterinary Services, South Dakota State University (SDSU) and Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) confirms suspicions.  “Via simulation, we’ve shown for the first time that v

Decision on Dow-DuPont merger won't come until 2017

Midland-based Dow Chemical confirmed that it does not expect a regulatory decision on its proposed merger with its chief rival until early next year. Dow, one of Michigan's largest publicly traded companies, confirmed the expected delay amid third-quarter earnings that had beaten Wall Street expectations. Company officials once hoped the European Commission would  weigh in on the merger by December. But the timing for the decision has been pushed back until February.

GMOs: Great modern opportunities (commentary)

The obsession with knowing how our food is raised, manufactured and processed  dates back to 1906 when Upton Sinclair penned The Jungle, a look at the dark side of the meat industry and caused the Pure Food & Drug Act to be passed. I don’t think the majority of consumers actually read the labels at the supermarkets as they make their choices based on taste, cost, quality, appearance and maybe what is on sale that day.

Bovine tuberculosis discovery leads to quarantine for 30 Alberta ranches

About 30 southeastern Alberta ranches are being quarantined after bovine tuberculosis was reported in a single cow from the province that was slaughtered in the United States.  The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Friday its veterinarians and inspectors are making contact with cattle producers in five Alberta agricultural zones and are working with provincial authorities to investigate the report.  "The investigation is ongoing and it is not yet known how many animals will require testing," said agency spokesperson Denis Schryburt.  "The number of animals requiring testing will depend o

Falling prices, borrowing binge haunt Midwest 'go-go farmers'

Some farmers loaded up on easy credit when grain prices were high - and kept borrowing after they crashed. Now debt and delinquencies are rising fast, raising fears of broader turmoil in U.S. agriculture. Their distress could foreshadow broader economic turmoil in the grain sector, which includes corn, soybeans and wheat.  “We’re in for a very, very rough time,” said Jim Mintert, director of Purdue University's Center for Commercial Agriculture.

Huron County steer tests positive for bovine TB

Bovine tuberculosis was found in a 2-year-old steer in the state's thumb region. United States Department of Agriculture's food safety inspection service identified the Huron County steer as possibly diseased during inspection and removed the animal from the human food chain, according to a statement from Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.

Safe for now, Canadian dairy farmers fret over E.U. trade deal

On both sides of the Atlantic, many of the people who are most upset about the new free trade deal between Canada and the European Union are dairy farmers. But they have opposite worries.  The deal was nearly derailed by enraged farmers in the Wallonia region of Belgium because of how much they had been struggling. In Canada, by contrast, farmers are anxious because they have been doing so well.  The way the country’s “supply management” system works now, Canadian dairy farms are almost guaranteed to prosper.

Seed Prices, Proposed Mergers and Acquisitions Among Biotech Firms

Over the last two decades, the big companies—that is, Monsanto, DuPont—have led the way with massive investments in biotechnology research and with seed and biotechnology company mergers and acquisitions. Historically, the seed-biotechnology companies have been dependent on numerous small and medium scale companies as major sources of innovation (Fuglie et al., 2012). The new small and medium-sized enterprises were specializing in developments of transgenic seed traits.


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