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Federal News

Weeks To Sift Through New Zealand Rubble, Producers Dumping Milk

Ag Web | Posted on November 17, 2016

Aftershocks are still being felt in New Zealand as the country tries to recover from a massive earthquake, and the devastation will impact the major dairy producing nation from exporting its goods. Fonterra, the world’s biggest dairy exporter, said some of its farms were without power and would likely have to dump milk, while other shipments are expected to be late.  That area accounts for roughly 13 percent of the New Zealand’s milk output. Analysts expect the earthquake to lift milk prices at the Global Dairy Trade event.

Election has ripple effect on consumer food demand: report | Posted on November 17, 2016

Consumers were significantly less likely to pay for food across several categories in November and last week's elections may have contributed to the sharp decline, according to Oklahoma State University's latest Food Demand Survey (FooDS) monthly survey.  Ag economists say the decline in willingess-to-pay may reflect “post-election uncertainty,” as the surveys were completed just two and three days after the Nov. 8th vote. For meat products, the drop in willingness-to-pay was greatest for chicken wings — after an increase that category a month ago — with a 19.5 percent decline, to $2.07 per pound. Next-largest was steak, with a 13.4 percent drop to $6.77 per pound.

Free webinars available on whole farm revenue protection

Center for Rural Affairs | Posted on November 17, 2016

Do you produce fruits, vegetables or other specialty crops? Are you interested in protecting your crops with crop insurance, but struggling to find crop insurance that works for the diversity of fruits or vegetables you produce on your operation?  Or maybe you’re a crop insurance agent who is interested in strengthening crop insurance options for specialty crop producers. Maybe you’re a banker, and your banking policies require that loan applicants have crop insurance.  Center for Rural Affairs will hold free webinars on Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP), a crop insurance option that requires crop diversity in order to qualify. The first two webinars are on Thursday, Nov. 17: one for producers and one for insurance agents. All are welcome to attend, there is no cost to participate.

30,000 chickens culled in Germany after bird flu detected

USA Today | Posted on November 17, 2016

German authorities say a flock of 30,000 chickens has been destroyed in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein after a strain of bird flu was detected in their enclosure.  The animals were killed Sunday and Monday as a precaution to try to contain the H5N8 strain of the virus, which can easily spread among birds but is not known to infect humans.

Obama antibiotics proclamation points no fingers at ag

Watt Ag Net | Posted on November 17, 2016

Animal agriculture far too often gets more than its fair share of the blame for the global problem of antibiotic resistance, so when I saw that U.S. President Barack Obama proclaimed November 13-19 as Get Smart About Antibiotics Week, I had to see what he had to say.  The proclamation was pleasantly surprising. While animal agriculture production was mentioned, as it should have been, it wasn’t blamed as a major contributor to the problem.  In his proclamation, Obama stated: “A major factor contributing to the emergence of antibiotic resistance is the inappropriate use of antibiotics, which are among the most frequently prescribed medicines and are also given to animals that are used for food.”  Later on in the text of the proclamation, Obama stated: “Last year, with recognition that our public health is connected to the health of animals and the environment, especially with regards to the spread of disease, we hosted the White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship to bring together key human and animal health stakeholders to identify successful strategies and opportunities for collaboration. We must continue working with food producers, health care providers, leaders in the private sector, and the American people to improve our antibiotic use.”

Immigration hardliner says Trump team preparing plans for wall, mulling Muslim registry

Reuters | Posted on November 17, 2016

An architect of anti-immigration efforts who says he is advising President-elect Donald Trump said the new administration could push ahead rapidly on construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall without seeking immediate congressional approval.  Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who helped write tough immigration laws in Arizona and elsewhere, said in an interview that Trump's policy advisers had also discussed drafting a proposal for his consideration to reinstate a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries.  Kobach, who media reports say is a key member of Trump's transition team, said he had participated in regular conference calls with about a dozen Trump immigration advisers for the past two to three months. Kobach said the immigration group had also discussed ways of overturning President Barack Obama's 2012 executive action that has granted temporary deportation relief and work permits to more than 700,000 undocumented people or "dreamers" who came to the United States as children of illegal immigrants.

Trump team flags Canadian livestock and lumber as targets in NAFTA reset

The Globe and Mail | Posted on November 17, 2016

Canada’s softwood lumber and livestock producers are being targeted by Donald Trump’s transition team, which is advising the president-elect to extract terms more favourable to the United States in these areas in a renegotiation of the North American free-trade agreement. The head of Canada’s largest business group says a transition team memo obtained by CNN suggests Washington is about to embark on an “aggressive, protectionist approach to trade both with Mexico and with Canada.” The memo says on the first day he takes office – Jan. 20, 2017 – he would order the Commerce Department and International Trade Commission to study the ramifications of withdrawing from NAFTA and what would be required legislatively to do so. NAFTA has been in force since 1994. The transition team has zeroed in on two of the most contentious trade issues between Canada and the United States.  The country-of-origin dispute centres on U.S. meat labelling rules that require foreign beef and pork to be sold with stickers detailing its origin. U.S. feedlots and packing plants are also required to keep Canadian livestock and meat separate.

Government Regs Limit Precision Plant Breeding

Seed World | Posted on November 16, 2016

The global ag industry’s ability to feed a ballooning population may hinge on whether or not crop varieties created through genome editing and other new plant breeding innovations will fall under domestic and international regulations put in place for GMOs.

Trump deportations would hit Idaho ag, where a fourth of all workers are undocumented

Idaho Statesman | Posted on November 16, 2016

Idaho agriculture employs more than 40 percent of all of Idaho’s undocumented immigrants. Idaho’s dairy industry is eager to see immigration reform and “certainty” in U.S. policy, said Idaho Dairymen’s Association Executive Director Bob Naerebout.


Germany considers keeping poultry indoors after bird flu outbreaks

Metro | Posted on November 16, 2016

Germany is considering ordering its poultry farmers to keep their flocks indoors following an outbreak of bird flu in the country, German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt said. Germany and Switzerland reported new outbreaks of a severe strain of bird flu on Saturday, the latest in a series of cases across Europe. The H5N8 virus has also been found in Austria, Hungary, Poland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Croatia. Germany will consult with countries including the Netherlands, Poland and Denmark about possible action, Schmidt said ahead of a meeting in Brussels. If the disease continues to show signs of spreading, Germany may go ahead alone and issue a lock-up order for poultry, Schmidt said.