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Agriculture News

White House pressures Big Corn to meet on U.S. biofuels policy

Reuters | Posted on December 12, 2017

President Donald Trump’s administration called two lawmakers from the U.S. corn belt to convince them to join talks about potential changes to biofuels policy to ease the burden on oil refineries, according to a spokesman for one of the lawmakers and a source briefed on the matter.


Scientists call on US to allow research on pot meds for pets

Leader-Telegram | Posted on December 12, 2017

A push is underway to have the U.S. government remove barriers to clinical trials of marijuana to see how effective it is in treating ailments in both pets and people, and one university in Colorado is already testing dogs with arthritis and epilepsy.People anxious to relieve suffering in their pets are increasingly turning to oils and powders that contain CBDs, a non-psychoactive component of marijuana. But there’s little data on whether they work, or if they have harmful side effects.That’s because Washington has been standing in the way of clinical trials, veterinarians and researchers say. Now, a push is underway to have barriers removed, so both pets and people can benefit.


Canada expands beef, pork trade with China

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on December 12, 2017

Canadian officials announced Thursday that they’ve secured expanded access to China’s market for beef and pork exports.The announcement followed completion Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's trade mission to China.The notable agricultural developments include:The launching of a pilot project for the export of Canadian chilled/fresh meat (beef and pork) to China. The pilot project allows for the export of chilled/fresh meat to China originating from Canadian establishments approved to participate in the pilot project. China has approved the import of frozen bone-in beef in accordance with the 2016 agreement to work towards expanded market access to China for Canada's beef products.


Idaho wheat groups to move forward with proposed rule change

Capital Press | Posted on December 12, 2017

A rule change proposed during the 2018 Idaho Legislature would give the Idaho Wheat Commission the ability to collect the names and contact information of all wheat farmers in the state.After being delayed for two years, a proposed rule change that Idaho Wheat Commission officials say will benefit Idaho grain farmers will be re-introduced during the 2018 legislative session.IWC and Idaho Grain Producers Association board members last week agreed to move forward with the proposed rule change, which would require first purchasers of Idaho wheat, such as elevators, to submit the names and contact information of all growers to the commission.The commission’s enabling legislation gives it the authority to have that information but it currently lacks the mechanism to collect it, so the IWC only has a partial data base of Idaho wheat growers, said IWC Executive Director Blaine Jacobson.“The (IWC) has a statutory responsibility to educate Idaho wheat growers and to conduct periodic referendums of Idaho wheat growers on how their checkoff dollars are being spent,”


Dairyman overcomes challenges

Capital Press | Posted on December 12, 2017

Many Californians in agriculture today have a laundry list of challenges facing them. Dairyman Richard Hughes has several, too.“I think the biggest challenge facing the dairy industry today is the fact that there is an over-supply of milk, due to large dairies,” he said.The excess supply tends to drive down milk prices, stressing many dairies, he said.“However, I would advise anyone who is really interested in getting into the dairy industry today to ‘Follow your dream,’” he said.Water is another challenge, and Hughes has built an answer to his need for it. About a year and a half ago, he put in a water catchment pond that catches the water from the barn roofs via a gutter system.“We have had riparian water rights from the creek that goes through the bottom of our property,” he said. “With these rights, we were able to have plenty of water for the cows. However, the little town of Bodega also gets its water from the creek.”With the catchment pond, he said, “we were able to not have to take water from the creek, so the town was able to have more.”Hughes received the Luther Burbank Conservation Award from Sonoma County Farm Bureau last year for his dedication to the environment


New discovery, more bees mark Michigan's first, full bee census

Science Daily | Posted on December 12, 2017

The first complete bee census in Michigan has confirmed a new species and revealed that the actual number of bee species in Michigan exceeded earlier estimates.


The Produce Safety Network: Supporting Regulators and Growers Across the Country

FDA | Posted on December 12, 2017

When the Produce Safety Rule became final in November 2015, the FDA began building the Produce Safety Network (PSN) to support the efforts of farmers, state regulators, and other key stakeholders to implement the rule, which is aimed at preventing foodborne illnesses associated with produce. The PSN is comprised of produce safety experts from the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) and specialized investigators from the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA). Stephen Hughes, M.S., leads the PSN’s team of produce safety experts from CFSAN.  Brittany Laymon, M.S., Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) in the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), is one of two Branch Chiefs leading the specialized investigators from ORA. They talk about the PSN’s goals, and what their teams are doing as the compliance date for larger farms subject to the Produce Safety Rule approaches in January 2018 (routine inspections won’t begin until the spring of 2019 to allow time for more guidance, training, technical assistance, and planning).


Poultry processor sees N.J. town as its new home

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on December 12, 2017

A poultry company is planning to open a processing operation in Vineland, N.J., that is expected to create about 40 jobs next year, according to local media reports. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority last month approved plans to issue $2.2 million in tax credits over 10 years to Vineland Poultry under its Grow NJ program


Wisconsin moving forward with drug-testing food stamp recipients

Wisconsin State Journal | Posted on December 12, 2017

Gov. Scott Walker’s administration has finalized a rule that would require able-bodied adult recipients of food stamps to be screened and possibly tested for drugs.The move is the latest step in the ongoing battle over whether such testing is legal under federal law.Walker has framed the issue as addressing the state’s worker shortage and as a continuation of the state’s landmark welfare reform efforts begun in the 1990s under Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson.“Employers have jobs available, but they need skilled workers who can pass a drug test,” Walker said in a statement. “This rule change means people battling substance use disorders will be able to get the help they need to get healthy, and get back into the workforce.”


Court orders Smithfield to do more groundwater evaluation

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on December 12, 2017

A U.S. District Court judge in North Carolina has directed Smithfield Foods to proceed with an evaluation of potential groundwater contamination from swine waste at eleven hog facilities in the state, according to court documents. Judge Malcolm Howard ruled in favor of plaintiffs Waterkeeper Alliance and Sound Rivers, which had asked the court to order Smithfield’s Murphy-Brown unit to allow a consultant to conduct further data collection under terms of a 2006 consent decree.


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