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Immigration officials arrest 146 workers at Ohio meat plant

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on June 21, 2018

pecial agents from U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) have arrested 146 workers at the Fresh Mark meat processing plant in Salem, Ohio, for alleged immigration violations, the agency said. ICE said it identified the employees as part of a year-long investigation into whether the company hired illegal aliens at its meat processing and packaging plants. Search warrants were served at Fresh Mark locations in Massillon and Canton, Ohio, as well as the Salem plant.

U.S.–China Trade Dispute and Potential Impacts on Agriculture

Choices magazine | Posted on June 21, 2018

Threats of Chinese tariffs on U.S. agricultural imports shook the U.S. agricultural sector. Attention focused on the potential loss of farm income, with a surge of short articles published in the popular media. To help provide a deeper analysis on the trade policy impact, we organize this China theme issue with five articles: Zheng et al. and Taheripour and Tyner estimate the loss on multiple relevant crops using a partial equilibrium model and a general equilibrium model, respectively. Both studies focus on soybeans, while wheat, pork, and a few other commodities are also considered. Hansen et al., Countryman and Muhammad, and Liu et al. examine sorghum, wine, and cotton, respectively, and point out potential export reductions as a result of such tariffs. Although the current trade dispute continues to evolve, it is valuable for us to understand the potential negative impact and to be informed of possible consequences. It is our sincere hope that U.S. and Chinese negotiators will reach an agreement, since both countries ultimately lose with a trade war, as seen from the 1930s Smoot–Hawley Tariff.

House Rejects Conservative Immigration Bill; Delays Consideration of Compromise

Roll Call | Posted on June 21, 2018

Goodlatte-sponsored bill goes down as leaders look to round up support on second measure. The House on Thursday rejected, 193-231, an immigration bill conservatives favor, an outcome Republican leadership had been predicting for months, even as House leaders delayed a vote on a compromise immigration bill. The vote on final passage of the compromise measure is being moved to Friday to provide more time to answer members' questions about the bill, a GOP aide confirmed. The measure by Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte did not include many changes he’d been working on over the past few months to improve the bill’s chances for passage. In the hours before the vote, members were still confused about which provisions made it in and which did not.

ICE arrests 146 at Fresh Mark plant

Meat + Poultry | Posted on June 21, 2018

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) executed search warrants at four Fresh Mark meat processing locations in Ohio and made 146 arrests at the company’s Salem, Ohio, location for immigration violations. The arrests are a culmination of a year-long investigation into evidence that Fresh Mark willfully and knowingly hired illegal aliens using identification that belonged to US citizens. Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), which represents Fresh Mark employees, called the raids an “…egregious show of force,” in a statement. “We are outraged by the actions of Donald Trump,” Appelbaum said. “One hundred and forty people couldn't go home to their families last night, and their children were left on their own to fend for themselves – that is unconscionable.” Appelbaum went on to say the RWDSU stands with all immigrant workers trying to support their families and better their lives.

The FMD bank in farm bill

Hoosier Ag Today | Posted on June 21, 2018

While the U.S. has a very vigorous inspection system and some of the best sanitary and phytosanitary restrictions in the world, we have seen over and over that it is impossible to keep insects, weeds, and diseases out. According to the National Beef Association, we currently do not have the resources to deal with a large outbreak of FMD. The current FMD vaccine bank in the United States is located at Plum Island, NY, and only contains enough vaccine to meet the need of a small, confined FMD outbreak. Additionally, preparation of a vaccine, from onset until delivery of a ready-to-administer dose, would currently take weeks. By the time vaccines could be administered, the entire beef industry would be in devastation. Worldwide FMD vaccine production is also limited, and there is no surge capacity available to produce the millions of doses needed in the event of a large-scale outbreak in the United States. As part of the 2018 Farm Bill, full mandatory funding of $150 million a year for five years is proposed. It provides for a robust U.S. FMD vaccine bank, capable of responding rapidly and effectively to any potential FMD outbreak. While this is a significant budget request in an already tight spending situation, Congress needs to see this for the priority that it is.

China announces equal penalties to retaliate for U.S. tariffs

Capital Press | Posted on June 20, 2018

A $50 billion list of possible U.S. trade targets announced in April included soybeans, light aircraft, orange juice, whiskey and beef. China’s government responded quickly to U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariff hike on Chinese goods by announcing Friday it will immediately impose penalties of “equal strength” on U.S. products. The Commerce Ministry said it also was scrapping deals to buy more American farm goods and other exports as part of efforts to defuse a sprawling dispute over its trade surplus and technology policy.

The FDA regulates food. USDA regulates meat. So who gets to regulate lab-grown meat?

The New Food Economy | Posted on June 20, 2018

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its intent to regulate lab-grown meat—a declaration that provides some clues about how the federal government will treat a new technology that upends some notions about food and agriculture. In some ways, it’s unremarkable that lab-grown meat would fall under FDA’s purview. It’s the federal agency that’s already in charge of ensuring the safety of most foods, from Hot Pockets to baby carrots and coconut water. What is surprising, though, is FDA’s signaling that it wants domain over a meat product. That’s always been the responsibility of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In theory, USDA regulates meat, poultry, and most “egg products,” like pourable egg whites, and FDA regulates everything else. In practice, the relationship between the two agencies is byzantine. A jurisdictional disagreement over mislabeled egg rolls led to a protracted regulatory standoff last year; FDA is responsible for closed-faced sandwiches, while USDA regulates their open-faced counterparts. This announcement suggests more confusion. While USDA will continue to regulate meat from animals, FDA wants to oversee cell-cultured meat grown in labs.

Chief ag negotiator expects $20 billion in trade retaliation

KCRG | Posted on June 20, 2018

The Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative Gregg Doud was also at the World Pork Expo, he says there will be consequences before a deal is struck. "There is, or will be, retaliation against U.S. agricultural exports because of what we're doing in other areas unrelated to agriculture. That retaliation is going to be somewhere in the neighborhood, depending on how you slice it and dice it, over $20 billion of our $140 billion in ag exports."

Progress and Potential Hurdles for the 2018 Farm Bill

Farm Doc Daily | Posted on June 20, 2018

The odds for a farm bill in 2018 have improved considerably. On Wednesday the Senate Ag Committee moved its version of a farm bill with a strong bipartisan vote (20 to 1). House leadership is attempting to resolve the immigration issue that contributed to the House Ag Committee's farm bill defeat on the floor. This may pave the way for a House vote reconsidering the farm bill, but success remains uncertain. Among the issues that could present hurdles to completing a farm bill, one has gained particular attention thanks to a recent public dispute that was punctuated by Senator Grassley's (R-IA) lone vote against the farm bill in the Senate Ag Committee: eligibility requirements for, and limits on, farm program payments. This seemingly esoteric issue is traditionally one of the toughest to sort out in a farm bill debate. It tends to have particular resonance on the House and Senate floors where perspectives outside of the agricultural sector weigh heaviest. It is often one of the final matters resolved in conference. As the farm bill moves to the Senate floor and the House possibly moves to reconsider its version, this article reviews this particular issue further with some historical background, the specific changes proposed and some political context.

FDA’s advice to footnote ‘added sugars’ gets tart replies

Capital Press | Posted on June 18, 2018

The Food and Drug Administration has been flooded this month with sour comments about its plan to require honey, maple syrup and cranberry products to include “added sugars” on nutrition labels.Remarks from New England maple syrup makers have been particularly bitter. They say they don’t “add” sugar to their naturally sugary product. “The only thing the producers do is evaporate water from the sap of this liquid gold,” one commented.The FDA counters that consumers should know how much “added sugar” maple syrup adds to pancakes. Judging by the flavor of the 2,900 comments submitted online, the reasoning has not been persuasive. “You have to be kidding,” a woman remarked. “You think someone pouring pure 100 percent maple syrup from a jug onto a pile of pancakes doesn’t know they are adding sugar to their breakfast?”