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GMO Innovation Contest

GMO answers | Posted on October 20, 2017

If you could use biotechnology to solve any food problem around the world, what would it be and why?  SUbmit your 30 second video for a chance to win! As part of this year’s Get to Know GMOs Month in October, GMO Answers is challenging you to show us the importance of GMOs and biotechnology in addressing global food challenges.Submit a 15-30 second video answering the question If you could use biotechnology to solve any food problem around the world, what would it be and why?Use #GMOInnovationContest when uploading your video to Instagram, YouTube or Vimeo. *Remember to make your profile public!Videos will be judged based on content, creativity and ability to present biotech as a crucial part of our planet’s health, safety and future. Submissions accepted from now through Oct. 23.

Biodefense Panel finds animal agriculture increasingly threatened

Biodefense Study | Posted on October 20, 2017

 The increasing rate of emerging and reemerging animal diseases, along with threats and attempts by those with nefarious intent to attack food and agriculture, point to the need to reduce the biological risk to America’s food and agricultural sector. That is the finding of a new report out today from the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense: Defense of Animal Agriculture. This is the first in a series of special focus reports. It includes the Panel’s evaluation of threats to animal agriculture, central to the health and well-being of the population and the security of one of the largest sectors of the U.S. economy. “Every year, we discover new threats to the Nation that could severely impact our animal agriculture,” said Tom Daschle, former Senate Majority Leader and Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense Panel Member. “Whether these threats arise here at home or abroad, we need to ensure that both domestic and international agrodefense efforts occur in concert. Governmental and non-governmental stakeholders also need to work together to eliminate vulnerabilities and reduce potential consequences that would affect our animals, lives, and economy. Implementing the proposals contained in this new report will prevent illness, death, and economic disaster.”

Minnesota grants fund on-farm livestock improvements

Farm Forum | Posted on October 20, 2017

Livestock producers may apply for a portion of $1.9 million in Livestock Investment Grants. Funds are provided by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation (AGRI) Program and may be used for on-farm improvements. “Livestock Investment Grants help farmers stay competitive and reinvest in their industry,” said MDA Commissioner Dave Frederickson. “Last year, 105 livestock farmers received grants to improve their operations.”

In glyphosate review, WHO cancer agency edited out 'non-carcinogenic' findings

Reuters | Posted on October 20, 2017

The World Health Organization’s cancer agency dismissed and edited findings from a draft of its review of the weedkiller glyphosate that were at odds with its final conclusion that the chemical probably causes cancer. One effect of the changes to the draft, reviewed by Reuters in a comparison with the published report, was the removal of multiple scientists’ conclusions that their studies had found no link between glyphosate and cancer in laboratory animals.In one instance, a fresh statistical analysis was inserted - effectively reversing the original finding of a study being reviewed by IARC.In another, a sentence in the draft referenced a pathology report ordered by experts at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It noted the report “firmly” and “unanimously” agreed that the “compound” – glyphosate – had not caused abnormal growths in the mice being studied. In the final published IARC monograph, this sentence had been deleted.Reuters found 10 significant changes that were made between the draft chapter on animal studies and the published version of IARC’s glyphosate assessment. In each case, a negative conclusion about glyphosate leading to tumors was either deleted or replaced with a neutral or positive one. Reuters was unable to determine who made the changes.

Vidalia onion farmer ordered to pay $1.4M in overtime suit

The Seattle Times | Posted on October 20, 2017

One of the largest producers of Georgia’s famous Vidalia onions must pay $1.4 million in damages and unpaid overtime owed to hundreds of workers, a federal judge ruled. A U.S. District Court judge found that Bland Farms Production and Packing LLC failed to pay overtime to 460 workers during spring harvest seasons from 2012 through this year. The U.S. Department of Labor filed suit against the company, owned by farmer Delbert Bland of Glennville, in 2014.

How to rebuild the public's trust in, and connections to, modern agriculture

Des Moines Register | Posted on October 20, 2017

We must do more to reassure society about the safety of agricultural innovation. The public is frequently bombarded with negative and misleading information about our food supply system. Even though we know advances in farming have increased safety and sustainability, it’s not enough to say “trust me.” Many people don’t trust the integrity of privately funded research, perhaps fearing that the industry may be hiding something from them. To address this misperception, Bayer has taken steps to allow public access to safety-relevant crop protection study information. We hope this helps connect people with our scientific community in a way that builds trust and shows our desire to be more transparent.

3 Kansas sites considered for Tyson poultry complex

Watt Ag Net | Posted on October 20, 2017

Three Kansas communities have been identified as possible sites for a new Tyson Foods broiler complex that was originally planned for the Leavenworth County community of Tonganoxie, in the northeastern part of the state. Those communities have been identified by regional media outlets as Cloud County, in north-central Kansas; Sedgwick County, in south-central Kansas; and Montgomery County, in southeastern Kansas.Tyson Foods on September 5 announced that it would build a $320 million facility in Tonganoxie that would include a poultry processing plant with a capacity to process 1.25 million birds per week, a feed mill and a hatchery.

Michigan announces formation of the Michigan Cleaner Lake Erie through Action and Research Partnership

Michigan Government | Posted on October 20, 2017

Michigan leaders today announced formation of a unique new coalition working to improve water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin. The Michigan Cleaner Lake Erie through Action and Research (MI CLEAR) Partnership includes farmers, agricultural and environmental leaders, universities, conservationists, landscape professionals, energy leaders, tourism and economic development interests, and more. Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Jamie Clover Adams said she was encouraged to call the diverse membership to the table as a new way to tackle the ongoing water quality challenges affecting the basin.“Our mission is to improve the water quality of the Western Lake Erie Basin through open discussion among regional leaders that brings a coordinated perspective to existing efforts,” Clover Adams said. “We will drive support for research that builds understanding of the science around water quality issues, and promote actions that bring long-term, meaningful change.” The MDARD Director said many members of this group already met once in August.

AL:Sen. Gerald Dial announces run for Alabama agriculture commissioner | Posted on October 20, 2017

State Sen. Gerald Dial of Lineville announced today he will run for commissioner of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries. Dial will run for the Republican nomination in hopes of succeeding Commissioner John McMillan. He said he would emphasize job creation."I have a reputation of rocking the boat, stepping on the status quo," said Dial, a retired brigadier general in the Alabama National Guard. "We need someone to carry on Commissioner McMillan's legacy, who will stand up for Alabama farmers and continue to bring more jobs to our great state."Dial had previously announced he would not run for reelection to the Senate. He is in his eighth term in the Senate and also served two terms in the House.

Farm Lending Stabilizes, but Bank Liquidity Tightening

Kansas City Fed | Posted on October 20, 2017

Lending at agricultural banks appeared to stabilize in the third quarter of 2017, but risks in the sector have remained alongside a persistently weak agricultural economy. After declining in the winter months, the volume of loans used to finance non-real estate farm purchases rebounded in the third quarter to a level similar to a year ago. Despite the rebound in lending activity, however, risk ratings on new farm loans have increased somewhat, interest rates have edged higher and loan-to-deposit ratios—a key measure of bank liquidity—also have increased.