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  • EPA nominee promises to stick to RFS | The Progressive Farmer

    A Scott Pruitt-led U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would place an emphasis on following the letter of the law including the Renewable Fuel Standard and providing clarity on a federal definition of navigable waters, in what the nominee told a Senate committee Wednesday would be a return to cooperative federalism with the states. Though agriculture interests were alarmed by the total maximum daily load, or TMDL, implemented in the Chesapeake Bay by basin states and led by the Obama EPA, Pruitt told members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee the nutrients-reduction effort in the region is an example of how cooperative federalism should work. That is, states in the region put together and implemented a nutrients-reduction plan that has, in fact, reduced nutrients flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. At one point during the hearing Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., pressed Pruitt to agree climate change is caused by human activity. When asked by Democratic senators whether he agrees with President-elect Donald Trump's opinion that climate change is a hoax, Pruitt answered no. Pruitt questioned whether there is consensus on climate science, but Pruitt also said EPA has an important role regulating emissions. Pruitt's answer still wasn't enough for Sanders who declared he would not vote for Pruitt's confirmation. In his prepared statement to the committee, Pruitt said he would return the agency back to its core mission established by Congress.

    Post date: Thu, 01/19/2017 - 16:21
  • To win Trump's deal backing, Bayer made a new $8B-plus pledge. But how new is it? | Fierce Pharma

    Bayer’s $66 billion Monsanto takeover has plenty of critics. But thanks to an $8 billion R&D pledge, it has one key backer: U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.  On Tuesday, Bayer and Monsanto said that their respective CEOs—Werner Baumann and Hugh Grant—had a “very productive” meeting with Trump and his team, resulting in a pledge to promise $16 billion or more in agriculture R&D over the next six years, with at least half of that coming in the U.S. Analysts are skeptical that the companies' promises offer much in the way of new investment; after crunching some numbers and checking facts, Bernstein analysts don't think so. But Trump's ability to take credit for those promises can't hurt the companies' chances at winning antitrust approval for their controversial deal. Some of those pledges sound familiar to analysts, though—including Bernstein’s Jeremy Redenius, who told the news service that “St. Louis to remain the headquarters of the North American seeds business has been the plan from the start.” Redenius questioned the R&D vow, too, noting that, broken down, $16 billion over six years is about $2.7 billion per year—or what Bayer and Monsanto together spend in that field already. And half of it is likely already happening in the U.S., he figures, with Monsanto spending the majority of its annual $1.5 billion in its home country and Bayer chipping in some stateside R&D investments, too.

    Post date: Thu, 01/19/2017 - 16:20
  • 'Raw' milk trend blamed for one of UK's worst food poisoning outbreaks as 65 fall ill |

    Low Sizergh Barn Farm, in Kendal, Cumbria, has previously won tourism and National Trust awards for copying a US dairy trend and selling 'ready-to-drink', untreated milk.  With their slogan 'From Moo To You', their fresh-from-the-udder milk is sold from special dispensers at their trendy Lake District farm shop. But now South Lakeland District Council has confirmed that last month alone 12 customers fell ill with campylobacter bacteria, with another 53 suspected cases recorded also in December - taking the total to 65 people laid low by the contaminated batch of raw milk. Sales from the farm's raw milk vending machine have been banned pending tests and farm owner Richard Park said he was co-operating with an investigation led by the Food Standards Agency.

    Post date: Thu, 01/19/2017 - 14:45
  • Manitoba announces historic investment in food processing | Manitoba News release

    The Manitoba government and Roquette today announced a historic investment in the province’s food-processing industry, confirming the France-based company’s plans to build a new, $400-million pea-processing facility near Portage la Prairie.  Premier Brian Pallister and Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler were joined by Edouard Roquette, Roquette’s chairman and Jean-Marc Gilson, Roquette’s CEO, as well as many industry partners for the announcement made at the Legislative Building on Global Pulse Day. Once open, the facility is expected to create approximately 150 jobs with an estimated annual payroll of around $9 million, the premier noted.  The facility will help to better serve customers in North America and globally with high-value nutritional choices including vegetarian foods and high-protein sport nutrition products, he added. Construction is expected to begin in the Rural Municipality of Portage la Prairie before the end of 2017, Roquette said.  Roquette is committed to working with local contractors, skilled trades and professional service providers, with approximately 350 full-time jobs anticipated during the project’s two-year design and construction phase, he added.

    Post date: Thu, 01/19/2017 - 07:33
  • Organic livestock handling rule goes into effect | Meatingplace (free registration required)

    New rules regarding humane handling of organic livestock will go into effect Thursday, Jan. 19, when they are published in the Federal Register.  Last week, the final rule, which amends the Organic Food Production Act of 1990, was cleared by the federal Office of Management and Budget, where it had languished since last summer. The imminent implementation of the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule drew praise from animal protection and rights groups and was met with criticism from meat industry associations. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) “commends” the move, calling it an “historic move” and “the first comprehensive set of regulations governing the on-farm treatment of animals ever issued by the federal government.”  In a news release, NPPC said the regulations will “dictate how organic producers must raise livestock and poultry, including during transport and slaughter … without scientific justification.” Some of the requirements, such as outdoor access, could even put some livestock at risk for contracting certain diseases. USDA is accepting public comments on the rule until Feb. 21, but it goes into effect as soon as it’s published in the Register tomorrow, in accord with to federal procedures.

    Post date: Thu, 01/19/2017 - 07:32

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Are corporations taking over America’s food supply?

15 March, 2016

Family farms.  The foundation of America’s food security.  According to the USDA, 97 percent of farms are family farms, and they grow 90 percent of the food produced. But national policies to keep food affordable (American’s spend less than 7 percent of their paycheck for food) and the boom and bust cycles of farming have resulted in larger, more concentrated farming practices.