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Agriculture News

Legal opinion: Gene editing exempt from Europe’s GMO rules

Capital Press | Posted on February 1, 2018

An advisory ruling has found the European Union should exempt gene-edited crops from strict GMO regulations, which may influence global attitudes toward gene editing.The opinion by an “advocate general” of the European Court of Justice isn’t a binding legal decision, but it’s considered highly persuasive for the panel of judges who will issue a ruling on the matter this summer.Advocates of biotechnology see the opinion as an early step in the right direction regarding Europe’s gene editing policy, but critics say it’s unlikely to sway wary European consumers.

Oversupply of milk, low prices cause concern for area dairy farmers

Reedsburg Times Press | Posted on February 1, 2018

Recent milk production numbers from the United States Department of Agriculture’s website show the United States dairy industry will produce an estimated 218.8 billion pounds of milk this year. While it’s a 0.5 billion pound reduction than what was predicted at the end of 2017, prices continue to drop because the demand for US dairy products are low.One reason for the oversupply comes from the limited amount of exports currently available to ship dairy products as well as a decrease in domestic demand.

New TPP deal puts U.S. wheat farmers at tariff disadvantage

Capital Press | Posted on January 31, 2018

A new Trans-Pacific Partnership deal would put U.S. wheat farmers at a $200 million disadvantage each year, according to the U.S. Wheat Associates and National Association of Wheat Growers, in a joint statement.Japan imports an average of 3.1 million metric tons of U.S. wheat every year, according to U.S. Wheat and the National Association of Wheat Growers. That was about 49 percent of Japan’s food wheat imports in 2016, according to the USDA. Canada supplied 34 percent and Australia 17 percent that year.After full implementation of the new TPP, Japan’s import tariffs on Canadian and Australian wheat will drop by about $65 per ton while the tariff on U.S. wheat will remain.

Japanese Vets Likely Transferred MRSA to Racehorses

The Horse | Posted on January 30, 2018

When veterinarians diagnosed MRSA infection in hospitalized Thoroughbred racehorses at two veterinary hospitals in Japan not long ago, they wondered about the source of the infection. Such cases are tough to manage and lead to lost training days, all while posing a risk to human health.These finding show that no MRSA colonization exists within the healthy racehorses at JRA, but a high rate of colonization exists in the JRA veterinary community, said Kuroda. Therefore, MRSA is likely being transferred between the JRA veterinarians and horses. These results show that there is an occupational risk to veterinarians of becoming colonized with MRSA. Additionally, he said, this study confirms the need for strict hygiene management programs within veterinary hospitals to prevent MRSA transmission between veterinarians and horses.

OSU receives record-breaking $50 million commitment

Veterinary Practice News | Posted on January 30, 2018

Oregon State University (OSU) has received what it calls a “transformative” donation that will change its college of veterinary medicine’s ability to provide life-saving care, education for future veterinarians, and critical animal and human health research. The record $50 million gift is a record-breaker for OSU, and the university will name its college of veterinary medicine in recognition of the donor: Gary Carlson, MD, a 1974 alumnus who is a partner at Dermatology Associates of Westlake Village, Calif.

Farmers 'sent death threats by vegan activists'

BBC | Posted on January 30, 2018

Farmers are receiving death threats from "militant" animal welfare activists, the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme has been told. Reporter Amber Haque has spent time with farmers and vegan group The Save Movement, which says it has a non-violent approach to campaigning.

Science Over Fiction: GMOs for Public Good

Devex | Posted on January 30, 2018

Today, as technology is becoming more accessible and less expensive, smaller labs and researchers are able to produce GMOs at a reduced costs — with the seed produced available for public good, not profit. And this allows them to respond to small, localized food production issues such as bananas in Uganda and papaya in Hawaii.  For the development sector — where the impact of lost local crops can mean loss of income, increased poverty and loss of culture — does “public good” GMO change the debate?

Australia set to reform how it regulates genetic engineering

ABC News | Posted on January 30, 2018

The changes will enable agricultural scientists to breed higher yielding crops faster and cheaper, or ones resistant to drought and disease. Australia's gene technology regulator Raj Bhula has proposed reducing regulations around gene editing techniques such as CRISPR, following a 12 month technical review into the current regulations.The most radical change put forward by the regulator is that some of the more efficient and newer genetic technologies, known as gene editing, would not be considered "genetic modification"."With gene editing you don't always have to use genetic material from another organism, it is just editing the [existing] material within the organism," Dr Bhula said."All of our regulatory frameworks and laws have been established based on people putting unrelated genetic material into another organism."Whereas this process is just manipulation within the organism and not introducing anything foreign."

Canada’s dairy farmers say they’ve had enough and won’t give up any more ground in NAFTA renegotiations

edairynews | Posted on January 30, 2018

Canada’s dairy industry says it shouldn’t bear any additional hardship in NAFTA talks after having been forced to give up so much in past trade deals. If the United States wants increased access to Canada, it should rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership that granted a 3.25 per cent quota that was expected to be filled mainly by the U.S., said Dairy Farmers of Ontario CEO Graham Lloyd.“The TPP is the vehicle that they should be going to,” he said in an interview Wednesday. “They shouldn’t be looking for NAFTA to gain access to the dairy market.”Lloyd said giving the Americans any more access to Canada won’t make a dent in the massive daily overproduction in three large milk producing states, but would cause serious harm to the Canadian dairy farmer.

Brazil share of China soy import market hits 53% in 2017

AgriCensus | Posted on January 30, 2018

Brazil’s share of the lucrative and expanding soybean market in China grew to above 53% in 2017, as better quality beans and a huge Brazilian crop sent buyers away from the US. According to Chinese customs data, Brazil's exports to China rose 33% on the year to almost 51 million mt.That is out of a total of 95.5 million mt and compares with US exports of 32.8 million mt, down 3.8%, and Argentinian exports of 6.5 million mt.