Every year, Americans eat over nine billion chickens. That means about 18 billion chicken feet, as well as tons of heads and chicken giblets, end up in trash bins every year. For years, that waste has been partly offset by a huge demand for chicken parts in China, where chicken feet are a popular ingredient in various dishes and snacks.To get a sense of the significance of the matter, chicken feet are now playing a critical role in the difficult trade talks between the two countries. When U.S. Under Secretary of Agriculture Ted McKinney visits Beijing this week, his top priority will be pushing China to drop a ban on U.S. poultry imports, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.China consumes the largest amount of chicken feet in the world, eating more than what the country can produce itself. Every year, China imports about $1 billion of poultry; chicken feet alone account for 60 percent, or 300,000 tons.
A coalition of ethanol and farm groups sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday, challenging its decision to free three refineries, including one owned by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, from annual biofuels requirements. The groups, including the Renewable Fuels Association and the National Corn Growers Association, filed the challenge in a U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver, according to a statement from the coalition. The lawsuit targets three waivers doled out to refineries owned by CVR Energy Inc, in which Icahn hold a majority stake, and HollyFrontier Corp.Refiners are required by the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard to blend increasing volumes of biofuels like ethanol each year, but the EPA can offer exemptions for facilities under 75,000 barrels per day, if they experience “disproportionate economic hardship.” The number of waivers has soared, amplifying controversy over a program that has been a battleground for entrenched farm and oil interests in Washington for years. Oil refiners say the requirements cause undue financial strain, while corn and biofuels supporters say the waivers reduce demand for their products.In addition to challenging the waivers themselves, the group criticized the EPA for its lack of transparency. The EPA has refused to share details of which companies have asked for and received the waivers, citing confidential business information.
Water, water everywhere—but not necessarily in the places it used to be. Even just in the past two decades, freshwater has been on the move in what scientists are now realizing represents "major hydrologic change." That's according to a new study published in the journal Nature. The study looks at freshwater between 2002 and 2016 and suggests that water distribution is becoming more extreme—places that used to have more water have even more water, and places that used to have less water have even less water.That's due in part to human activities like agriculture, but also to the consequences of climate change.The study was based on data produced by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE, a pair of NASA satellites that orbited Earth and detected small changes in gravity caused by higher or lower amounts of water.
Bayer has agreed to sell agricultural businesses and assets worth about $9 billion to chemical company BASF. The divestiture is the large antitrust-related divestiture ever, according to the Justice Department. The sell-off will allow Bayer to proceed with a proposed $66 billion of Monsanto.
Fewer cows have been breeding on the range since wolves migrated to northeast Washington, an economic loss little known outside the cattle industry, according to the owners of the region’s largest ranch. The Diamond M ranch estimates that the rate of “open cows” — females that didn’t become pregnant — has increased to about 20 percent from the historic rate of 5 percent.“If wolves were attacking people night and day, I don’t think you’d have too many people pregnant,” said Len McIrvin, the patriarch of the family-owned and -operated ranch.
A new bill has been introduced that would permit state-inspected meat and poultry to be shipped anywhere in the country. Twenty-seven states have inspection programs that have been judged ‘equal to’ the federal inspection program run by FSIS. Generally, however, meat and poultry produced in a plant under a state program can be sold in-state only. One might ask, “Why is state-inspected meat prohibited from crossing the state line if it was produced in a plant under an inspection system ‘equal to’ the FSIS system?” With such a query, the argument begins anew.A skeptic might say, “State programs are not really equal to the federal program. Political pressure is all that keeps these state programs operating.”In reply we hear, “Many state programs operate quite successfully, some with former FSIS personnel having returned home to live and work.”Another disbeliever will exclaim, “States only run their programs to collect the 50 percent support the feds supply.”An astute observer responds, “FSIS always opposes interstate movement of state-inspected meat and poultry products because the agency doesn’t want to see its monopoly of inspection funds diminished.”Others exclaim, “It wouldn’t be safe to allow state inspected products to move freely around the country.”A common rejoinder sounds like this, “Meat or poultry products from three dozen countries are eligible to enter the U.S. and cross state lines. Foreign programs only need to be ‘equivalent’ to that of FSIS, allowing for important differences. State programs must be ‘equal to’ the FSIS program.”In my opinion, federally approved state programs should be able to export their meat and poultry products anywhere within the United States. Also, the states should be held to the international standard of ‘equivalent to’ FSIS.
People in the dairy business say they're quite certain the state will be changing to a federal milk pricing system this fall, but they're holding out on making any long-term business decisions in anticipation of this move. In a producer referendum that ended earlier this month, California dairy farmers voted whether to join a federal milk marketing order for the state. Though the U.S. Department of Agriculture has yet to announce the results of the vote, the state's three largest dairy cooperatives, which represent the majority of the state's milk, reportedly bloc-voted on behalf of their members, indicating approval of the order.USDA has said implementation of a California federal order, if it is approved, is expected no later than Nov. 1. Currently, California dairy farmers operate under a state milk pricing system administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, while the majority of farmers in other states operate under a federal-order system.Exactly how the change would affect each individual farmer remains unclear, Tulare County dairy farmer Frank Mendonsa said, though he noted some are "very optimistic," while he and others are taking a "wait-and-see approach."
With tax revenue from legal pot sales in California falling short of projections, a financial analysis firm estimated Tuesday that total sales this year will be $1.9 billion, significantly less than the $3.8 billion the company expected.The firm, New Frontier Data, had also estimated that total sales in California would reach $6.7 billion by 2025, but now says it is more likely the industry will generate $4.72 billion by then.Most cities in California have refused to allow pot businesses, and there are tough rules for those who want state licenses to grow, distribute and sell marijuana.
If people truly understood the science behind modern poultry genetics, there would be little justification for the movement toward slower-growing broiler breeds, a University of California-Davis (UCD) extension specialist said. Speaking at the 2018 Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit on May 3, Alison van Eenennaam, PhD, UCD Cooperative Extension Specialist, animal genomics and biotechnology, said that animal breeders, including poultry breeders “have possibly the most compelling sustainability story of all time.”But opponents of modern animal agriculture have painted a negative picture of the broiler breeds used in the industry today, advocating for a move to slower-growing broilers, similar to those that were used in the industry in the 1950s. Those people are ignoring the science, she said.
In the national immigration debate, anti-immigrant rhetoric is at a fever pitch generated by politicians bent on inciting a cultural war and exploiting the fears many Americans have about their economic situation and how their communities are changing. But to truly understand the role of immigrants in the United States, we must look to the states and localities where immigrants live. In spite of efforts by fear-mongering politicians to divide us, both “red” and “blue” states have a proud history of advancing policies that acknowledge and encourage the contributions of all members of their communities, regardless of where they were born. In the midst of monumental national policy debates, it is just as critical to focus on the immediate needs of immigrant and refugee families, and the communities where they feel the most direct impact. While year after year the focus has been on the “failure” of federal immigration reform, we have seen local governments enact measures to make college more accessible, to increase public safety by ensuring access to driver’s licenses, to provide children with access health care, and to keep families safe.