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Agriculture News

WTO rules against Indonesia on animal product import restrictions

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on November 15, 2017

The World Trade Organization has confirmed a WTO panel finding that Indonesia’s import restrictions for horticultural products and animals and animal products are against WTO rules. The WTO’s rejection of Indonesia’s appeal of the panel finding marks a “resounding victory for the United States that should result in increased export opportunities for U.S. farmers and ranchers as well as increased Indonesian consumer access to high-quality U.S. agricultural products,” the office of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said.

White House implements new Cuba policy restricting travel and trade

The Washington Post | Posted on November 15, 2017

The Trump administration announced tight new restrictions Wednesday on American travel and trade with Cuba, implementing policy changes President Trump announced five months ago to reverse Obama administration normalization with the communist-ruled island. Under the new rules, most individual visits to Cuba will no longer be allowed, and U.S. citizens will again have to travel as part of groups licensed by the Treasury Department for specific purposes, accompanied by a group representative. Americans also will be barred from staying at a long list of hotels and from patronizing restaurants, stores and other enterprises that the State Department has determined are owned by or benefit members of the Cuban government, specifically its security services.

EPA Air Emissions Reporting Looms for Livestock Operations

Ag Web | Posted on November 15, 2017

Barring a delay from a federal court, between 60,000 and 100,000 livestock and poultry operations will be mandated to file a report regarding on-farm air emissions beginning Wednesday, Nov. 15. The reporting is mandatory for farms that exceed the reporting threshold of 100 pounds total of either ammonia or hydrogen sulfide in any 24-hour period at least once annually.  Last week the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Assn. (USPOULTRY) filed a brief in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s motion to delay the mandate that farmers report those air emissions. Last April a federal court denied an exemption for farms from reporting “hazardous” air emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Act and the Emergency Community Response Right to Know Act.Beginning Wednesday, livestock and poultry farmers will need to file air emissions reports with the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center (NRC), as well as written reports with their regional EPA office within 30 days of reporting to NRC. "Farms with continuous releases must submit their initial continuous release notification starting on Nov. 15, 2017,” The EPA statement said. “Due to the potential for large call volumes to the National Response Center, we are establishing an email option for initial continuous release notifications. The system should be available by Nov. 15, 2017.“Farm owners/operators may use the email option once it is available rather than calling the NRC. This expedited option will allow one email notification for owners/operators with multiple farms."

Dairy Farmers of America breaks ground on new plant in Kansas

Dairy Farmers of America | Posted on November 15, 2017

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) officially announced plans to build a dairy ingredients plant in Garden City, Kansas. In a ceremony at its 156-acre site in Garden City, representatives from the Cooperative were joined by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, city and state officials and the area’s dairy farmers to break ground on the facility. The state-of-the-art plant will produce whole, skim and nonfat dry milk powder, as well as cream, and is a partnership between DFA and 12 of its member farms in Southwest Kansas.

Ohio announces chnages to Livestock Care Standards

Ohio Department of Agriculture | Posted on November 15, 2017

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) wants to remind producers and livestock owners about upcoming changes to Ohio’s livestock care standards. Effective January 1, 2018, veal calves must be housed in group pens by ten weeks of age. Additionally, whether housed in individual stalls or group pens the calves must be allowed to turn around and cannot be tethered. Also effective January 1, tail docking on dairy cattle can only be performed by a licensed veterinarian and if only medically necessary.

Minnesota farm capitalizes on growing demand for local, free-range poultry products

The Country Today | Posted on November 14, 2017

There doesn’t seem to be much of a slow season at Ferndale Market, but there’s most certainly a busy season. As Thanksgiving approaches, the feathers really fly. “It’s our time to make things happen,” said John Peterson, 37, who represents the third generation to raise turkeys his the family’s farm near Cannon Falls, Minn. John estimates they will sell about 30,000 fresh and frozen Thanksgiving turkeys this season, both straight off the farm and through retailers and restaurants across the Upper Midwest.The Peterson family has carved out a distinct niche for themselves among consumers seeking an alternative poultry product, raised on grass and without antibiotics and growth promotants.“They’re grateful that we’re doing it different,” John said. “Most consumers don’t really know where the frozen turkey in the grocery store came from and how it was raised.”People — hundreds of them a day in the weeks just before Thanksgiving — flock to the Petersons’ on-farm retail store, along U.S. Highway 52 between the Twin Cities and Rochester, Minn. They enjoy seeing exactly where their turkey was raised.

Trump bailed on a trade deal, and now a bunch of US businesses may suffer

CNBC | Posted on November 14, 2017

American farmers and small business owners are among the U.S. industries that will be worst hit once a new Trans Pacific Partnership deal is implemented, said one expert. Over the weekend, TPP member countries made progress on a deal without Washington.One of the defining actions of President Donald Trump's tenure in the White House so far is his decision to withdraw the U.S. from a 12-nation trade pact that would have had wide-ranging implications for the global economy.Now that deal — the Trans-Pacific Partnership — looks like it's going to be settled without the U.S.. That may mean American farmers and small business owners will soon regret Washington's exit."The U.S. business community that's going to get hit the hardest when TPP happens is going to be agriculture and small and medium-sized enterprises," said Steve Okun, senior advisor at international trade consultancy McLarty Associates and a former deputy general counsel at the U.S. transportation department.Progress on the agreement, now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, hit a milestone over the weekend as the 11 remaining members agreed on core elements for a new framework without the U.S.Once the new deal is implemented, American farmers could be left at a disadvantage: The agreement seeks lower tariffs for goods traded among members, the bulk of which are Asia-Pacific nations. That means non-member countries, such as the U.S., will still face high rates when shipping to Asia-Pacific.


IPC questions WHO stance on antibiotics

Watt Ag Net | Posted on November 14, 2017

The International Poultry Council (IPC) disagrees with the recently approved World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines that recommend that the meat and poultry industries stop the routine use of antibiotics for growth promotion and disease prevention, the IPC said in a statement. The WHO on November 7 stated that over-use and misuse of antibiotics in animals and humans is contributing to the rising threat of antibiotic resistance, as it released its WHO guidelines on use of medically important antimicrobials in food-producing animals:However, IPC says that the WHO guidelines “inappropriately tie the hands of producers and limit their options" for antibiotics to prevent, control and treat diseases.

Advocating the future of agriculture

Farm and Dairy | Posted on November 14, 2017

Rural areas receive less representation and recognition than densely populated urban and suburban areas. In the House of Representatives, the number of seats assigned to an area is based on population density. Each state is allotted two Senate seats, but senators focus on issues concerning the majority of voters in their district. As a result, issues critical to the future of farming are often overlooked. If farmers want our voice heard, we must be advocates.There are many meaningful ways farmers can advocate the future of agriculture. The first is writing and calling government representatives. Provide real examples of how issues affect your farm operation. Connect how Ag issues affect the representative’s entire district, including urban and suburban voters.

Massachusetts dairy farmers seek to double tax credit

edairynews | Posted on November 14, 2017

Beleaguered dairy farmers could be getting more money from the state to offset losses from souring milk sales.A bipartisan proposal gaining traction on Beacon Hill would double the state’s dairy farm tax credit to $8 million, which supporters say would prevent more farms from going bust. The measure, which was cleared two weeks ago by the Legislature’s Revenue Committee, has support from dozens of lawmakers.“Dairy farms are struggling,” said Rep. Brad Hill, R-Ipswich, who supports expanding the tax credit. “We need to do whatever we can to help them persevere.”Hill, whose district includes Herrick Farm in Rowley, the last commercial dairy farm in Essex County, said expanding the credit is vital to preserving a dwindling number of farms in the north of Boston region and statewide.“These dairy farms are part of the fabric of our communities,” he said. “And people need to understand that if we don’t have farms, we don’t eat.”Massachusetts has lost a number of dairy farms and is down to about 160. That compared to more than 800 three decades ago, according to agriculture officials.While there are smaller dairy operations that bottle their own milk and make ice cream, cheese and other products, such as Richardson’s Dairy in Middleton, large-scale operations that provide milk for the regional market are rapidly disappearing from the landscape, dairy farmers say.