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At eye of GMO storm, a non-browning apple

Fruit, which industry hopes is a breakthrough, may hit some stores soon. After years of development, protest and regulatory red tape, the first genetically modified, non-browning apples will soon go on sale in the United States. The fruit, sold sliced and marketed under the brand Arctic Apple, could hit a cluster of Midwestern grocery stores as early as Feb. 1. The limited release is an early test run for the controversial apple, which has been genetically modified to eliminate the browning that occurs when an apple is left out in the open air.

Bob Evans Farms to sell restaurant business unit

Bob Evans Farms, Inc. is now a pure play food company. On Jan. 24, the company announced the sale of its Bob Evans Restaurants business unit to the private equity company Golden Gate Capital for $565 million plus the assumption of certain liabilities. Net proceeds from the sale to Bob Evans Farms are expected to be between $475 million to $485 million.  On the same day, Bob Evans Farms entered into an agreement to acquire the Pineland Farms Potato Co. (PFPC), Mars Hill, Maine, for $115 million. Pineland Farms is a value-added potato processor serving the retail and food service markets.

USDA lifts gag order

The Department of Agriculture has reportedly lifted an order that called for scientists and employees of its research arm not to release any of its work to the public.  After a report that the agency had told staff to stop releasing any "news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content,” another memo was sent Tuesday night from a top official for the department’s Agricultural Research Service that the original order should not have been issued and “is hereby rescinded.” Prior to the memo, the agency disavowed the gag order, calling it “flawed” and indicating that new

It had help, but the animal rights movement won again

The animal rights movement celebrated a victory recently, when Feld Entertainment, owner of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, announced that the circus was no longer financially viable to operate, and would soon cease to exist.  The timing of it all just really struck me. Just a few weeks ago, my wife and I got to talking about how much fun we had when we took our oldest kids to the circus, back before our youngest was born. I also told her (again) about how much I loved it when my parents took my sister and I to see the circus when we were little.

A Look Forward: Ag Law in 2017

It appears that 2017 could be an important year for a number of agricultural law issues.  From the Clean Water Act, to “Ag Gag” legislation, to the Endangered Species Act, there are a number of pending cases that could have major impacts on the agricultural industry in the coming year.  Here is a brief look at four of the biggest cases to watch this year.

This Technology Is About To Smash Through Every Factory Farm’s Closed Doors

This week, at the Sundance Film Festival, everything will change. With the debut of the virtual reality (VR) investigation Operation Aspen, ordinary people donning VR headsets will be able to walk with activists as we infiltrate Sunrise Farms, a major Whole Foods egg supplier in Northern California. Alongside my fellow activists at Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), I entered Sunrise with a prototype VR camera small enough to carry in one hand and stable enough to capture footage as we moved. The result is breathtaking: a 360 degree experience walking through a “humane” egg farm.

Ever wondered about animals with unusual jobs?

When people think about working animals, what often comes to mind are dogs that herd sheep, horses that work on farms and animals that perform in movies. But there are lots of other jobs animals have had over the years.  Dogs are much more sensitive to smell than humans. This made dogs the traditional hunting companion, enabling their owners to track foxes and other game. Police departments have taken advantage of this skill to help find missing people and escaped convicts.

AFIA Condemns Trumps First Trade Decision

The American Feed Industry Association is extremely disappointed with President Donald Trump’s executive action today to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. “TPP, and agreements like it, are key to setting the terms and rules for future trade relationships, creating higher standards and expectations than previous trade deals. While the U.S. economy generally deals with a trade deficit, agriculture is the one segment where our country enjoys a strong trade surplus,” said AFIA President and CEO Joel G. Newman.  U.S.

AFIA: Industry wide community service hours on up and up

The American Feed Industry Association released the results of its annual “Community Involvement and Charitable Giving Survey” today, revealing the animal food industry’s volunteer hours in 2016 to be significantly higher than 2015.  The informal poll, conducted at the close of each year, tallies community service hours and funds donated by participating companies. Results show more than 41,000 hours of community service donated by AFIA member companies’ employees in 2016—a 28 percent increase from 2015. Nearly $2.2 million was also contributed to an expansive list of community causes. 

Groups petition to stop Arkansas chicken industry expansion

Animal rights and environmental groups are asking for a halt to building more live chicken facilities in Arkansas until federal regulators assess the impacts of such facilities on animals, the environment and public health. Groups including the Center for Biological Diversity, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Arkansas Animal Rights Koalition are asking USDA and the Small Business Administration to stop making federal loans until the local impact of new facilities has been determined.

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