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Agriculture News

Coalition sets new standards for antibiotic stewardship for animals

Meating Place (free registration required) | Posted on December 18, 2018

A group of food companies, livestock producers, trade associations and retailers has released what they call a comprehensive framework to strengthen oversight of the use of antibiotics in food animals. The goal is to more carefully manage the use of medically important antibiotics to slow down the emergence of resistant bacteria and maintain the effectiveness of the drugs. The new framework defines effective stewardship, outlines its core components and describes the essential characteristics of effective stewardship programs, including specific performance measures, the group said in a news release.


Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency enacts Chronic Wasting Disease plan

Clarksville On-Line | Posted on December 18, 2018

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is enacting the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Response plan, following a preliminary positive detection of CWD in white-tailed deer in Hardeman County and Fayette County. The response plan involves a coordinated effort between TWRA, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, and other partners. “Hunters are our biggest ally in managing chronic wasting disease in Tennessee if it is confirmed here,” said Dr. Dan Grove, Wildlife Veterinarian, University of Tennessee Extension. “Besides submitting deer from the to-be-defined CWD Zone, the most important thing everyone needs to do is follow the regulations for moving harvested deer.Currently, 25 states and three Canadian provinces have documented CWD. Last week, Mississippi announced a preliminary CWD positive hunter-harvested deer in Marshall County which became the closest to Tennessee and the fourth overall this year in Mississippi. Other confirmed cases have previously been made in the border states of Arkansas, Missouri, and Virginia.


America Can’t Move Its Cheese

The Wall Street Journal | Posted on December 18, 2018

America’s cheese hoard continues to balloon to unprecedented levels, as producers fear the mountain could grow further and put even more dairy farmers out of business. About 1.4 billion pounds of American, cheddar and other kinds of cheese is socked away at cold-storage warehouses across the country, the biggest stockpile since federal record-keeping began a century ago.Driving the glut are cheese makers who ramped up production before trade tensions abroad tamped down demand for many of their products. Shifting tastes at home have further changed the outlook for traditional cheese makers. Many are paying to store their excess cheese in hopes demand and prices will improve.“There’s a whole ton of aged product laying around,” said Nate Donnay, director of Dairy Market Insight.Cheese, which has a limited shelf-life, is less valuable once it spends weeks in cold-storage, and producers are concerned that the glut and price drop that has come with it could eat into profits. Spot market prices for 40-pound blocks of cheddar fell around 25% this year from 2014 prices, while 500-pound barrels typically used for processed cheese declined 28%.Cheese exports have suffered since Mexico and China, major dairy buyers, instituted retaliatory tariffs on U.S. cheese and whey. Cheese shipments to Mexico in September were down more than 10% annually, according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council trade group, and shipments to China were down 63% annually.That leaves U.S. dairy producers relying more on a domestic market where tastes are changing.


The future of food production amid global change

Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Posted on November 22, 2018

When it comes to impacting global change, agriculture cuts both ways. Subject to the vicissitudes of global climate change, population, and economic growth, the cultivation of crops and livestock alters atmospheric concentrations of planet-warming greenhouse gases and ]contributes to pollution of freshwater and coastal areas. Assessing the risks to and from the agriculture sector — and identifying opportunities for the sector to thrive amid global change — is both urgent and essential.To explore challenges and opportunities for the sector, the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change convened a one-day workshop, “Agriculture and Global Change: Driving Forces, Contributions to Global Change, and Climate Risks.”Joint Program Research Scientist Kenneth Strzepek showed that how much water a society allocates for agriculture is a reflection of its climate, level of economic development, and evolving value system. Observing that 70 percent of today’s freshwater withdrawals are for irrigation, and that by 2050 about 17 percent of all water now used in agriculture will be at risk from reallocation to nonagricultural economic growth, population and urban growth, and environmental protection, Strzepek highlighted several trends that pose a growing threat to such withdrawals, including the adoption of clean energy generation through hydropower at the expense of water for irrigation.


Dairy farmers refuse £6,000 to allow filming of milk production in Denmark

Independent | Posted on November 22, 2018

Dairy farmers in Denmark have refused an offer of nearly £6,000 to let animal-rights campaigners film the production of milk, butter and cheese. The country’s farmers, who supply dairy products for the firm behind British brands Anchor and Lurpak, have not accepted the cash incentive to let cameras in to record how cows and calves are treated every day.


India is about to become the world's biggest sugar producer

Business Times | Posted on November 22, 2018

Brazil, traditionally the world's top sugar producer, is poised to cede the crown to India for the first time in 16 years. Production in the Asian country this season may rise 5.2 per cent to a record 35.9 million metric tons on increasing acreage and improving yields, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service said Tuesday in a report. Brazil's output may tumble 21 per cent to 30.6 million tons because of adverse weather and a shift to produce more cane-based ethanol.Global production is forecast to fall 4.5 per cent to 185.9 million tons, trailing the May estimate of 188.3 million, after the outlooks for Brazil, Thailand and the European Union were revised lower.


Monsanto appeals $78M verdict in California weed killer suit

AP | Posted on November 22, 2018

Agribusiness giant Monsanto on Tuesday appealed a $78 million verdict in favor of a dying California man who said the company’s widely used Roundup weed killer was a major factor in his cancer. The company filed a notice of appeal in San Francisco Superior Court challenging a jury verdict in favor of DeWayne Johnson. In August, the jury unanimously found that Roundup caused Johnson’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and awarded him $289 million.Last month, Judge Suzanne Bolanos slashed that award to $78 million. Monsanto had sought a new trial or judgment in its favor.


U.S. judge selects first case in federal Monsanto weed-killer litigation

Reuters | Posted on November 22, 2018

A U.S. judge overseeing the federal litigation against Bayer AG’s Monsanto unit over glyphosate-based weed-killers allegedly causing cancer on Tuesday selected the first case to be tried in federal court in February 2019. U.S. District Judge Vince Chaabria in San Francisco in an order said the case of California resident Edwin Hardeman will be the first out of more than 620 cases pending in the federal litigation to go to a jury.Hardeman’s case will mark the second trial in the U.S. litigation over glyphosate, after a California state court jury in August awarded $289 million to a school groundskeeper, finding Monsanto liable for the man’s cancer.


State denies permit to Arkansas hog farm near Buffalo River

Minnesota Star Tribune | Posted on November 22, 2018

An Arkansas environmental regulatory agency denied a permit for a hog farm Monday because of concerns that pig waste might be contaminating the nearby Buffalo River. The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality issued a final decision that C&H Hog Farm in Vendor can no longer operate. Its decision followed a period of public comment after the department initially denied the permit for the farm in September.The department first denied the farm's permit in January, but the farm appealed to the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission, which sent the decision back to the department in August. The farm appealed that decision as well, and in October a judge ordered a stay on the department's decision to deny the permit in September.In its report, the department said it was denying the permit because of concerns that waste produced by the farm was contaminating the nearby Big Creek and Buffalo River. It tested two areas of each body of water close to the farm and found that all four "failed to meet water quality standards" under the department's regulations. Additionally, testing revealed higher levels of nitrates in the water and phosphorous in the soil.


USMCA will cause US ag exports to decline by $1.8B

Watt AgNet | Posted on November 22, 2018

A new report says the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will expand U.S. agricultural exports by $450 million, but those gains will be negated by retaliatory tariffs by Canada and Mexico against the U.S. The study, “How U.S. Agriculture Will Fare Under the USMCA and Retaliatory Tariffs,” was commissioned by agricultural policy institute Farm Foundation and completed by Purdue University agricultural economists Dominique van der Mensbrugghe, Ph.D., Wallace Tyner, Ph.D., and Maksym Chepeliev, Ph.D.The analysis says retaliatory tariffs will cause U.S. agricultural exports to decline by $1.8 billion and that, with continued tariffs from China and other trading partners, “the United States would see a decline in agricultural exports of $7.9 billion, thus overwhelming the small positive gains from USMCA.”


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