Attendees Flock to 2015 Chicken Media Summit

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

cms-15-28-editedHere on the Eastern Shore the 2015 Chicken Media Summit is in full swing. The National Chicken Council and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association has once again brought together bloggers, journalists, dietitians and leaders in the poultry industry to network and learn from one another.

Today we completed the Chicken: Farm to Fork Day. Stops included a tour of a hatchery, broiler barn and a processing plant. No questions went unanswered as the chicken community opened their doors to the media in hopes of truly educating them about the industry.

Tomorrow we will hear panelist discuss myths and facts concerning the chicken industry and continue the discussion on food safety. Photos are being uploaded as we speak and I will share audio throughout the coming week.

Find photos from the event here: 2015 Chicken Media Summit Photo Album

Ag Group, Animal Health, Animal Welfare, Chicken, National Chicken Council, Poultry, US Poultry

More Cases of Avian Flu Found

John Davis Leave a Comment

Still more cases of the highly pathogenic form of H5N2 avian influenza (HPAI) were confirmed by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) last week in commercial turkey flocks in South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

USDA also announced on Friday that they will begin streamlining updates about HPAI through daily GovDelivery messages as well as continue posting the new cases on the APHIS website. In the event of HPAI H5 detections in a new state and/or new flyway or detections of new strains, USDA APHIS will issue only a stakeholder announcement and post the findings on its AI website.

Agribusiness, Poultry, Turkey, usda

TPA on the Move in Congress

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

trade-wordsbipartisan, bicameral Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation has been introduced in Congress that would put negotiations for new trade agreements that could benefit agriculture on the fast track.

The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) outlines negotiating objectives that must be followed by any administration when conducting trade talks while also increasing transparency by requiring that Congress see the full details of trade agreements well before they are signed.

“We look for quick action by Congress to provide the President with the authority to pursue agreements that open markets for America’s farmers, ranchers and agribusiness,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “U.S. agriculture’s interests are best served by ensuring America is at the table with strong negotiating authority.”

The administration has been strongly promoting the need for Congress to grant TPA to the president to move forward with negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP).

Prior to agreeing to the deal, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on trade priorities featuring testimony from administration officials, including Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and US Trade Representative Michael Froman. Listen to or download audio from some of their remarks below.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack opening remarks USTR Michael Froman on importance of TPA
Audio, Government, Trade

House Votes to Kill Death Tax

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

adrian-smithBy a vote of 240-179 largely along party lines, the U.S. House voted Thursday to repeal the federal estate tax, better known by opponents as the “death tax.”

Co-sponsor Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE) told his colleagues that repealing the tax is a top priority for farmers and ranchers in his state and around the nation. “Agriculture, particularly raising cattle and crops such as corn, is a land and capital intensive process…their assets are the land and equipment they use to help feed our nation and the world,” said Smith.

Rep. Adrian Smith on repeal of death tax

“The estate tax is a disservice to agriculture because we are a land-based, capital-intensive industry short of funds, and with few options for paying estate taxes when they come due,” said National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Philip Ellis. “Unfortunately, all too often at the time of death, farming and ranching families are forced to sell off land, farm equipment, parts of the operation or take out loans to pay off tax liabilities and attorney’s fees. We urge the Senate to act soon and vote for full repeal of the death tax to prevent an undeserved death sentence to many family-owned farms and ranches.”

The bill reportedly has little chance of passage in the Senate and faces a presidential veto threat, but most agricultural organizations were pleased to see the House action.

Ag Group, Audio, Government, NCBA

The Ivy League Farmer Video From Diamond V

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

diamond-vA new feature film, The Ivy League Farmer, tells the story of a father and son in conflict over the use of modern technologies on the family dairy farm. It’s also a love story that explores a rural community’s concern about local kids not getting enough to eat.

Diamond V recognizes food security as a growing concern worldwide. Today, every 3.6 seconds, somewhere in the world, someone dies of hunger. Seven million children starve to death every year. Another 870 million people suffer from malnutrition.

“In many countries,” says Jeff Cannon, Diamond V President and CEO, “rapid population growth, fragile ecosystems, and limited natural resources impact people’s food supply. In wealthier developing countries, growth in per capita food demand is a factor.”

Food security is an issue in the U.S. too. Even though this country has one of the safest and most affordable food supplies in the world, 15% of Americans suffer from food insecurity. Even in Iowa, one of the top agricultural states, there are communities where 1 in 4 school-age children get their only meal of the day at school. Operation Backpack, organized by volunteers in eastern Iowa, provides kids in need a backpack that contains food for the weekend.

Cannon points out that most of the world’s land suitable for farming is already in production. What this means, he says, is that an estimated 70% of future increases in food production capacity must come from new and improved agricultural technologies.

“One of the major challenges,” Cannon says, “is helping consumers better understand the real choices confronting us now and in the years ahead as we try to produce enough safe, sustainable, affordable food at home and abroad.”

Operation Backpack Initiative, a non-profit Diamond V venture, is taking on that challenge.

Operation Backpack Initiative seeks to increase public understanding of modern agriculture in an entertaining, enjoyable way. The venture’s first project is a feature length film entitled The Ivy League Farmer — a love story that also stars modern agriculture in the fight against food insecurity. Use the password “ivy” to access the trailer.

Agribusiness, Nutrition, Video

House Committee Calls for Repeal of WOTUS

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

ncba-200The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council applaud the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for sending a clear message to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers that the proposed Waters of the U.S. rule is an expansion of federal jurisdiction that strips rights from private property owners.

Passing the full Committee today by a vote of 36 to 22, H.R. 1732 Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015 requires the EPA and Army Corps to withdraw the WOTUS proposal within 30 days. NCBA President Philip Ellis said cattlemen and women appreciate the Committee’s efforts for moving legislation forward that addresses the problematic proposed rule.

“The subjective and ambiguous language of the proposed rule would significantly broaden the federal government’s power to regulate waters and adjacent lands that convey water,” said Ellis. “We also appreciate the legislation requiring the federal government to work with state and local governments, further protecting states’ rights.”

The bill also charges the agencies with developing a new proposed rule that must take into consideration all of the comments received and reach consensus with the state and local governments on defining “Waters of the United States.”

“The Administration’s proposed rule is nothing more than regulatory land grab vastly expanding federal authority,” said Brenda Richards, PLC president and rancher from Idaho. “Instead of proactively reaching out to stakeholders before proposing the rule, the Administration pushed forward a rule that didn’t take into account the concerns of agriculture.”

NCBA and PLC urge Congress to act on this important piece of legislation without delay.

Ag Group, Beef, Government, NCBA, Water

FDA: Antimicrobial Resistance Cases Decreasing

John Davis Leave a Comment

ncc_logoGood news for the meat industry. Two new reports from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) show that antimicrobial resistance in certain bacteria isolated from raw meat and poultry collected through the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) are decreasing in occurrences. This news release from the National Chicken Council (NCC) says the 2012 Retail Meat Report and the 2013 Retail Meat Interim Report had the good news.

NARMS focuses on resistance to antibiotics that are considered important in human medicine as well as multidrug resistance (described by the FDA as resistance to three or more classes of antibiotics). Under the NARMS program, samples are collected from humans, food producing animals and retail meat sources, and tested for bacteria, specifically non-typhoidal Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli and Enterococcus, to determine whether such bacteria are resistant to antibiotics used in human and veterinary medicine.

Among the key findings of the reports released today:

• A recent decrease in third-generation cephalosporin resistance among poultry meats continued in 2012 and 2013.
• Resistance in Salmonella from retail chicken declined from a peak of 38 percent in 2009 to 28 percent in 2012 and continued to decline to 20 percent in 2013.
• Salmonella from retail meats remained susceptible to ciprofloxacin, one of the most important antibiotics for treating Salmonella infections. Similarly, Salmonella from retail meats were susceptible to azithromycin, another important antibiotic recommended for treatment of Salmonella and other intestinal pathogens.
• There was a continuous decline in the overall proportion of Salmonella isolates that were multi-drug resistant between 2011 and 2013.
• In 2012, only 1% of C. jejuni from retail chicken were resistant to erythromycin, the drug of choice for treating Campylobacter infections.

NCC officials welcomed the trends, saying examining the patterns is much more meaningful to public health outcomes than looking at antibiotic sales data. These reports also provide a strong case that the continued judicious use of antibiotics by poultry and livestock producers is aiding in the reduction of resistance in various foodborne pathogens.

Ag Group, Agribusiness, Chicken, Food

AMSA Pork 101 at Texas A&M

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

pork-101Registration for the American Meat Science Association (AMSA) PORK 101 that will be held May 19-21, 2015 at Texas A&M University ends May 9th. PORK 101 is hosted by AMSA in cooperation with the National Pork Board and is sponsored by Elanco Animal Health.

To help minimize travel costs, the three day program will begin at 10:00 AM on May 19th and conclude at noon on May 21st for afternoon departures. Find the course outline and registration at the PORK 101 website.

PORK 101 attendees will learn about the value differences in swine, pork carcasses, pork primals and processed pork products from meat science faculty and AMSA members at Texas A&M University.

The program features:
• Live Hog Grading and Evaluation
• Lean Value Pricing
• Quality Management at Slaughter
• Slaughter Floor HACCP
• Measuring Carcass Quality and Composition
• Process Control Testing
• Fresh Sausage Production
• Pork Carcass Fabrication
• Value Addition
• Consistency Improvement
• Enhanced Pork Production
• Curing Production
• Retail and Consumer Issues

PORK 101 is co-sponsored by the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP), American Society of Animal Science (ASAS), North American Meat Institute Foundation (NAMIF) and the Southwest Meat Association (SMA). Registration for AMSA members and other partnering organizations is $800. Non-member registration is $950.

Ag Group, American Meat Science, Education, Pork

More High Path Avian Flu Cases Found

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

chickensMore cases of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza (HPAI) have been confirmed this week by USDA.

An additional eight commercial turkey flocks in Minnesota were confirmed on Monday bringing to 22 the total number of confirmed cases in Minnesota. These flocks are within the Mississippi flyway where this strain of avian influenza has previously been identified. CDC considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low. No human infections with the virus have been detected at this time.

In the past week, cases of the disease were found in three more states – Iowa, Wisconsin, and North Dakota – bringing the total number of states with confirmed cases to 12.

Poultry, usda

Early Registration for Alliance Summit Ends Today

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

animal agThe extended early registration deadline for the 2015 Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders’ Summit ends today. After today the cost for registration increases by $50-75.

The Summit will be held May 6-7 and will feature industry experts discussing about how animal agriculture is using technology to rise to the challenge of feeding a growing and hungry world.

“Animal agriculture faces a tough task as we seek to produce enough protein for an exponentially growing planet,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “By incorporating technology, farmers and ranchers have taken on that challenge while remaining mindful of the environment by decreasing rates of water use and greenhouse gas emissions.”

This is the first year that the Summit is being held outside of the Washington, DC area. This year’s event will explore animal agriculture’s continuous efforts to embrace new technologies that will help feed a growing population while measuring sustainability, engage consumers in innovative ways to bridge the knowledge gap, and highlight initiatives that demonstrate agriculture’s commitment to transparency.

Animal Ag Alliance, Livestock