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Agriculture News

NASDA Debuts Model Preventive Controls for Animal Food Framework

NASDA | Posted on September 20, 2018

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) is pleased to announce the debut of their Model Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Preventive Controls for Animal Food Implementation Framework. The document contains the fundamental and essential components for the operation of a state animal food safety program that can fully implement the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-based Preventive Control for Animal Food regulation. This regulation, as well as NASDA’s Framework, establishes preventive actions to ensure the safety of animal food in an effort to protect animal and human health. The national framework emphasizes the need for alignment and consistency across state programs. “As co-regulators with the FDA and other agencies, NASDA members are committed to ensuring a safe food supply,” said NASDA CEO Dr. Barbara P. Glenn. “This framework is an important step in expanding the partnerships between state departments of agriculture and the FDA to effectively implement the rules of FSMA.” The Framework was produced in collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state departments of agriculture, universities, and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) as part of NASDA’s programmatic work on an FDA cooperative agreement for implementation of the rule.

Major U.S. trade groups link up in anti-tariff coalition

CBS | Posted on September 20, 2018

As the Trump administration readies major trade actions this month, including a potential $200 billion in new tariffs on imported Chinese goods, America's biggest trade associations -- representing a wide swath of industries -- have formed what they say will be a sweeping campaign against tariffs. Americans for Free Trade, a group of more than 80 associations, said it represents thousands of businesses and workers. It's joining with the already-formed Farmers for Free Trade in a campaign the groups are calling "Tariffs Hurt the Heartland." They plan events in Chicago, Nashville, Pennsylvania and Ohio starting next week, according to a statement posted on a new website."Every sector of the U.S. economy stands to lose in a trade war," Matthew Shay, who heads the National Retail Federation, said in the statement. "The stakes couldn't be higher for American families, businesses, farmers and workers threatened by job losses and higher prices as a result of tit-for-tat tariffs."The coalition posted a searchable map linking users to stories from farmers and businesses saying they're harmed by tariffs. The move comes just as Bloomberg reports the White House is proposing a new round of trade talks with China, after the previous four attempts faltered.

N.M. beef plant expands into bison meat processing

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on September 20, 2018

A small New Mexico beef processing operation that opened its doors a year ago is adding bison meat packing in an effort to differentiate itself from larger competitors, according to a local news report. USA Beef Packing, based in Roswell, has signed a contract with a ranch near Amarillo, Texas, that will supply the bison and has agreed to pack the meat for retailers and distributors, the Roswell Daily Record reported.

African Swine Fever discovered in Belgium

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on September 20, 2018

African Swine Fever (ASF) has been confirmed in two wild boars in Belgium, in an area about eight miles from the border with France and 11 miles from the border with Luxembourg.

Fed survey finds concerns about rising trade tensions

AP | Posted on September 20, 2018

The Federal Reserve reported  that its latest survey of business conditions nationwide found rising concerns over the impact Trump administration trade policies could have on the economy. The Fed’s 12 regional banks said the economy is growing at a moderate pace although three districts — Philadelphia, St. Louis and Kansas City — depicted activity as somewhat below average.While businesses remained optimistic about near-term prospects, the Fed found worries about trade had prompted some businesses to scale back or postpone their capital investment plans. Higher tariffs stemming from President Donald Trump’s get-tough trade policies were reported to be pushing up input costs for some manufactured goods.The Fed survey reported that labor markets were tight throughout the country with construction workers, truck drivers, engineers and other high-skilled workers remaining in short-supply. But the report also found that a number of Fed districts were also seeing shortages of lower-skilled workers at restaurants, retail stores and other places as the country’s unemployment rate has fallen to 3.9 percent, its lowest point in nearly two decades.

USDA proposes clearance for catfish from Vietnam, China and Thailand

Politico | Posted on September 20, 2018

The Food Safety and Inspection Service plans to publish a Federal Register notice formally designating China, Vietnam and Thailand as eligible countries to export catfish and catfish products to the U.S. FSIS said it determined that the inspection system in each country was “equivalent to the system that the United States has established under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and its implementing regulations.” Congress included provisions in both the 2004 and 2008 farm bills transferring catfish inspection to the USDA, from the FDA. FSIS published a final rule in Dec. 2015 that created a transitional mechanism for trade to continue while it determined whether China, Vietnam and Thailand’s inspection systems are equivalent to the U.S. system.

Beware of Disaster Animal Exploiters

Humane Watch | Posted on September 19, 2018

For pet owners in the hurricane’s path, it is wise to prepare ahead of time and take steps to ensure your pet’s safety. For those looking to help out or offer financial assistance to rescue efforts, be advised that giving money to the Humane Society of the United States may not do much—if anything—for animals in need. HSUS likes to tout its “rescue team” and pet shelter “partners” during natural disasters.We previously detailed how, in the wake of 2016’s Hurricane Matthew, HSUS gave a measly $8,000 to “help” its shelter partners take in animals. This is pocket change compared to the HSUS budget of $126 million that year.Contrast this with an organization like American Red Cross, which had relief costs for Hurricane Matthew estimated to be in excess of $20 million.

Farm victim of ‘patent troll’ lawsuit

Capital Press | Posted on September 19, 2018

An Oregon farm that sells organic foods and other products online is accused of patent infringement in a “patent troll” lawsuit.The vaguely threatening letter over alleged patent infringement that Azure Farms received last year didn’t make much of an impression on David Stelzer.Stelzer, the company’s founder and CEO, consulted with his information technology employees, who assumed the letter was a scam.“I didn’t give it a second thought,” he said.Now, the Oregon company is the defendant in a lawsuit that alleges its online website for selling organic food and other products has violated a patent for automated financial transactions owned by Landmark Technology LLC of San Diego, Calif.Stelzer said his website isn’t much different from multitudes of others that sell products online, making him think the plaintiff has filed a “nuisance lawsuit” aimed at a quick settlement.“I have no clue what they are after,” said Stelzer, who farms nearly 2,000 acres. “They’re basically saying because we have a working website, we have patent violations.”

Dairy export numbers hint at tariff effects

Capital Press | Posted on September 19, 2018

Aside from the data, USDEC says numerous exporters have talked of lost contracts, expectations of losing contracts and adjusting prices lower to hold onto market share. U.S. dairy exports in July were seasonably lower and the lowest since January, but they were still ahead of year-ago levels.Suppliers shipped 170,100 tons of milk powders, cheese, butterfat, whey and lactose, up 11 percent over July 2017. Those exports were worth $434 million, a 3 percent increase over a year earlier, U.S. Dairy Export Council reported.But the data also seem to show some effects from retaliatory tariffs on U.S. dairy by China and Mexico, with a big hit to whey and cheese exports to China and a slight drop in cheese exports to Mexico — the top market for U.S. cheese.

Federal Reserve September Beige Book

Federal Reserve Bank | Posted on September 19, 2018

Reports from the Federal Reserve Districts suggested that the economy expanded at a moderate pace through the end of August. Dallas reported relatively brisk growth, while Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Kansas City indicated somewhat below average growth. Consumer spending continued to grow at a modest pace since the last report, and tourism activity expanded, to varying degrees, across the nation. Manufacturing activity grew at a moderate rate in most Districts, though St. Louis described business as little changed and Richmond reported a decline in activity. Transportation activity expanded, with a few Districts characterizing growth as robust. Home construction activity was mixed but up modestly, on balance. However, home sales were somewhat softer, on balance--in some cases due to reduced demand, in others due more to low inventories. Commercial real estate construction was also mixed, while both sales and leasing activity expanded modestly. Lending activity grew throughout the nation. Some Districts noted weakness in agricultural conditions. Businesses generally remained optimistic about the near-term outlook, though most Districts noted concern and uncertainty about trade tensions--particularly though not only among manufacturers. A number of Districts noted that such concerns had prompted some businesses to scale back or postpone capital investment.