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Agriculture News

Direct evidence of exposure of pregnant women to Glyphosphate

Science Daily | Posted on March 28, 2018

The first birth cohort study of its kind has found more than 90 percent of a group of pregnant women in Central Indiana had detectable levels of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, the most heavily used herbicide worldwide. Researchers from Indiana University and University of California San Francisco reported that the glyphosate levels correlated significantly with shortened pregnancy lengths.

China Proposes 15% Tariff on Fresh Fruit, Wine

Growing Produce | Posted on March 28, 2018

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce issued the threat in an online statement. American goods including nuts, wine, and fresh fruit would be subject to 15% tariffs.

Cloned pork is considered Kosher

Newsweek | Posted on March 26, 2018

Prominent Israeli Rabbi Yuval Cherlow says meat from a cloned pig would be considered kosher under Jewish dietary laws. Cherlow, who is a leading scholar on modern interpretations of Kashrut, is advocating for rabbinic approval of cloned meats in order to reduce animal suffering, decrease meat industry pollution and stamp out starvation. Rabbi Cherlow makes the case that transgenic or cloned meat would not be subject to the same Kashrut dietary laws that guide what is kosher, or “fit,” for consumption by Jews. Cherlow argues that under the halachic system, “when a pig's cell is used and food is produced from the genetic material, the cell actually loses its original identity, and therefore it can not be defined as a prohibited food, nor can it be eaten as milk.” Cherlow says that because meat grown from cells in a lab would have lost its "identity," observant Jews would also be able to eat it alongside dairy products. Non-cloned, traditional pigs are forbidden under Jewish dietary laws because they fail to meet the requirements for an animal to be kosher, or "fit to eat" for Jews. According to certain verses in Deuteronomy, animals must chew their cud and have split hooves. While pigs do have split hooves, they do not chew their cud, so pigs and their derivative meats are forbidden.

Bayer launches Care4Cattle grant program

Meat + Poultry | Posted on March 26, 2018

Bayer AG announced a new initiative called Care4Cattle, a grant program intended to help livestock professionals advance the well-being of dairy and beef cattle. Farmers, veterinarians, researchers and graduate students in veterinary medicine or animal science are invited to submit their ideas to the Care4Cattle program. Bayer said projects should demonstrate innovative, practice-oriented ways to improve cattle well-being on the farm level. Projects will be judged based on innovative approach; impact on cattle welfare; added value to farming operations; relevance and feasibility; and economic viability.

State officials let mega-dairy use loophole to tap endangered Oregon aquifer

Idaho Statesman Journal | Posted on March 26, 2018

A year after it opened, Oregon’s second-largest dairy has not secured rights to the nearly 1 million gallons of water per day it needs for its thousands of cows and to process milk. Instead, Lost Valley Farm near Boardman moved ahead without the necessary permits, using a loophole in Oregon law to pull water out of an underground aquifer that’s been off limits to new wells for 42 years, alarming neighboring farmers who say their water supplies are now at risk.Documents obtained by the Statesman Journal show Gov. Kate Brown, her staff and the directors of three state agencies knew the dairy would fall back on the loophole if a proposed water trade was challenged.But with dairy owner Greg te Velde rushing to meet a deadline to receive bank financing and move his 8,000 cows — and with the promise of 150 jobs for rural Morrow County — state officials allowed the dairy to open anyway. In 2016, the dairy drilled three wells into the already-dwindling aquifer without telling the state, as required by law, and refused to register them for months after state officials found out.

Congressional spending bill includes language for milk labeling standards

KTIC Radio | Posted on March 26, 2018

The congressional spending bill approved Thursday in the House and awaiting final vote in the Senate directs the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take action against mislabeled imitation dairy foods, representing a major victory for farmers and consumers alike, according to the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). The massive omnibus spending bill to fund the government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2018 includes report language instructing FDA to enforce labeling standards affecting dairy imitators. NMPF said the omnibus language builds on the DAIRY PRIDE Act (DPA), a bipartisan bill introduced last year in both chambers of Congress to compel FDA to act against misbranded imitations. The omnibus provision expresses Congress’ concern that certain plant-based beverages are not properly labeled. Given the existing definition of milk as a product of a dairy animal, NMPF said that Congress’ instructions to FDA should restrict the ability of beverages made from plant foods from using the term “milk” on their labels. This will also affect products misusing other dairy food names such as “cheese” and “yogurt” that are defined in the Code of Federal Regulations and cited in the congressional bill.

US Rejects EU Solar Tariff Alternative at the WTO

Green Tech Media | Posted on March 26, 2018

Refusing the European Union’s request leaves the door open for retaliatory measures.  The Trump administration has refused to accept European Union alternatives to U.S. safeguard tariffson importedsolarproducts, according to a joint statement issued by the World Trade Organization.Safeguard measures are permitted under WTO rules if a country faces serious injury due to a surge in imports of a particular product. However, the country implementing the safeguards must compensate their trading partners in other areas, or accept that other countries can put up their own barriers. In response to the Section 201 solar trade case, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia and the EU demanded compensation after President Trump signed the tariffs into law on January 22.

Scientists on brink of overcoming livestock diseases through gene editing

The Guardian | Posted on March 26, 2018

Prof Eleanor Riley, director of the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, said new techniques will soon allow breeders to genetically engineer disease resilience and, in some cases, immunity into pedigree animals, saving farmers millions of pounds a year. “Genes can be modified to massively increase resistance and resilience to infection,” she said. “The health and welfare benefits of this could be enormous.”Roslin, one of a handful of sites in the world with the capacity for both gene editing and running animal trials, recently announced it had made pigs that appear to be completely immune to Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSV), also known as blue ear disease, which costs the swine industry £120m a year in pig deaths and expensive biosecurity. In a separate trial, Roslin is testing pigs designed to be resistant to African swine fever, a highly infectious disease that has recently swept across the Baltic countries and into Poland, causing alarm among farmers.

5 dairy farms affected by Dean Food’s downsizing have new place to sell milk

edairynews | Posted on March 26, 2018

Harrisburg Dairies said taking in small farms affected by Dean Food’s recent decision to downsize due to a surplus in the market was a no brainer. “It really made the decision for us, when it came to needing our milk supply to be independent producers that we can have a direct relationship, monitor and inspect ourselves,’ said Alex Dewey Assistant General Manager of the Harrisburg Dairies.

In a U.S.-China trade war, Trump voters likely get hurt the most

The Washington Post | Posted on March 23, 2018

Politicians, economists and executives agree China isn't playing fair on trade. But there's a lot of disagreement about whether President Trump's hefty tariffs are the right weapon for fighting back. American farmers and Walmart shoppers are likely to feel pain in this fight, and a lot of them voted for Trump. There are two ways Americans are highly likely to get hurt in a U.S.-China trade spat. First, prices on a lot of items will almost certainly rise, and second, China is going to hit back with tariffs on American products. The other knock is expected to come when China fights back. Senior Chinese officials have made it clear they'll take “necessary measures” to retaliate for Trump's tariffs. All indications from Beijing are that China's countertariffs will target goods and jobs in parts of the United States that voted for Trump. At the top of China's list are agricultural products such as soybeans and hogs.Soybeans and grains are the second-largest U.S. export to China. Trump carried eight of the top 10 soy-exporting states, and the critical swing states of Michigan and Wisconsin are in the top 15 soybean exporters, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Airplanes, the top U.S. export to China, could also end up on the hit list.