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Agriculture

Scientists may have found the key ingredient for a universal flu vaccine, and it comes from llamas

A team from the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla and their international colleagues have taken a major step toward the long-sought goal of developing a universal vaccine against influenza.First, they vaccinated llamas against a number of A and B strains of influenza. Then they took blood samples to collect the antibodies the llamas produced in response.Among them were four uniquely small antibodies that showed an ability to destroy many different strains of influenza.

Bayer Now Faces Roundup Issues at Home

Germany’s Environment Ministry laid out a plan Tuesday for a step-by-step retreat from glyphosate, the weedkiller that has been a thorn in Bayer AG’s side since its $63 billion acquisition of Monsanto Co. The plan calls for a ban on the chemical, the active ingredient in Bayer’s Roundup herbicide, in areas that are environmentally sensitive or important for groundwater. The new rules would also make it tougher for farmers to use similar chemicals that kill a broad range of plants and insects, requiring them to reserve acreage for pesticide-free planting as well.

Canada joins support for gene editing

The Government of Canada believes gene edited crops can help farmers produce “safe and affordable food, feed, fibres, and energy in the 21st century.” The quote comes from a statement released in early November and was delivered during a World Trade Organization meeting.The United States and 12 other nations — Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Jordan, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Vietnam — issued a joint statement on agricultural applications of precision biotechnology.

Gene editing – boon or curse for the agriculture industry?

Imagine if we could create crops that were more resistant to abiotic stresses (eg, drought, excessive watering, extreme temperatures, salinity and mineral (metal and metalloid) toxicity) or more nutritious; we could be able to solve the problem of food scarcity and malnutrition around the world.

Growing view is China will stretch soybean supplies until early Brazilian harvest

Archer Daniels Midland's chairman and CEO said Tuesday during an earnings call that it's possible China may not need to buy U.S. soybeans before early harvest arrives for Brazil's soybean crop.Juan Luciano, responding to an analyst's question about possible U.S. soybean exports to China in the next few months, said there remains a question of whether China will need to come in and buy U.S. beans before Brazil can start supplying with its new crop."The reality is the window is getting shorter, and China is finding ways not to use U.S. beans," Luciano said.

California makes cage-free hens a state law

California voters overwhelmingly approved a measure Tuesday requiring that all eggs sold in the state come from cage-free hens by 2022. Proposition 12 also bans the sale of pork and veal in California from farm animals raised in cages that don’t meet the new minimum size requirements.

Fieldale seeks $2.25 million exit from chicken price-fixing litigation

Fieldale Farms has filed a motion asking a federal judge in Illinois to give final approval of its $2.25 million settlement with chicken buyers suing the nation’s top broiler companies for an alleged price-fixing scheme. As part of the “icebreaker” settlement, Baldwin, Ga.-based Fieldale Farms agreed to cooperate with the plaintiffs in their prosecution of the remaining 13 defendants, including industry leaders such as Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, Sanderson Farms, and Perdue Farms.

Is It Time To Sell The Farm?

This harvest season, American soy farmers are missing their biggest customer. “They can’t get rid of the beans,” said Joe Ericson, president of the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association, because China will not accept the usual soybean and soy product exports under a 25 percent tariff.Unpredictable weather and fluctuating commodity prices already mean slim margins for the small family farms that comprise 90 percent of all U.S. farms.

What’s Next for Antibiotics in Agriculture?

In the future, Smith sees feedyards demanding more preconditioned calves that are less likely to become sick. And, with imminent pressures from consumers and national beef chains, he suggests producers may see more change in how they’re able to administer antibiotics. “Currently, we have antibiotics that are classified as over-the-counter and those classified as prescription. I would not be surprised to see regulations in the future where if you want to go down and buy a bottle of penicillin or tetracycline that will be a prescription product rather than over the counter,” Smith suggests.

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