Farm Groups Cheer WOTUS Repeal

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Ding dong the ditch rule is dead!

The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have officially begun the process to withdraw the highly controversial Waters of the United States (WOTUS) final rule and begin a replacement rulemaking process to gather input and re-evaluate the definition of WOTUS, to cheers from farmers and ranchers nationwide.

American Farm Bureau – “Today’s announcement shows EPA Administrator Pruitt recognizes the WOTUS rule for what it is—an illegal and dangerous mistake that needs to be corrected. Farm Bureau looks forward to supporting Administrator Pruitt’s proposal. EPA should ditch this rule once and for all, go back to the drawing board, and write a new rule that protects water quality without trampling the rights of businesses and the states.”

National Corn Growers – “We are thankful this Administration is working to draw clear lines in terms of what is and what is not jurisdictional under the Clean Water Act. In doing so, they will enable farmers to implement best management practices such as grass waterways and buffer strips without the burden of bureaucratic red tape or fear of legal action. These types of land improvements have enormous water quality benefits, such as reducing sediment and nutrient runoff—a win for farmers and the environment.”

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association – “This is another great step in the right direction, and the Administration deserves a great deal of credit for injecting some much-needed common sense into our nation’s environmental policies. It’s important to remember, though, that this rule isn’t dead yet. The rulemaking process continues, and NCBA will submit and solicit additional comments on behalf of America’s cattle producers so that they finally get the sanity and clarity they need on land use policy.”

National Pork Producers – “The WOTUS rule was a dramatic government overreach and an unprecedented expansion of federal authority over private lands. It was the product of a flawed regulatory process that lacked transparency and likely would have been used by trial lawyers and environmental activists to attack farmers.”

AFBF, AgWired Animal, AgWired Precision, NCBA, NCGA, NPPC

Prices for a July 4th Cookout Down Slightly

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The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) says we can cookout for a little less this year. Favorite foods for a Fourth of July meal will run about $6 per person according to an informal survey conducted by AFBF. The average cost of a summer cookout for 10 people is $55.70, or $5.57 per person. One reason for this is competition in the meat and dairy cases.

“Retail pork prices also declined in 2017, largely due to more pork on the market and ample supplies of other animal proteins available for domestic consumption. Lower beef prices are most likely putting downward pressure on pork prices,” said AFBF Director of Market Intelligence Dr. John Newton.

AFBF’s summer cookout menu for 10 people consists of hot dogs and buns, cheeseburgers and buns, pork spare ribs, deli potato salad, baked beans, corn chips, lemonade, chocolate milk, ketchup, mustard and watermelon for dessert.

Newton said, “We continue to see stability in dairy prices because of the improving export market. Chocolate milk will be a little more affordable this July 4th, in part because some retailers are promoting it as a sports recovery drink superior to other sports drinks and water.”

Newton said retail dairy and meat prices included in the survey are consistent with recent trends and are expected to continue to be stable.

AFBF, Ag Group, AgWired Animal, Dairy, Farm Bureau, Food, Meat

Florida Hosts 1st House Ag Farm Bill Listening Session

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The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) hosted the very first House Agriculture Committee farm bill listening session on Saturday in Gainesville, Florida.

Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (TX-11) presided over the first of many “Conversations in the Field” that will be held in the coming year as work on the 2018 Farm Bill is just beginning to get underway.

“Writing the farm bill is a big task, with a lot of moving parts – and it’s vitally important we get the policy right,” said Rep. Conaway. “The best way to do that is by getting out of D.C. and hearing from the folks this legislation impacts.”

Eleven other Committee members attended the session, a majority from the Southeastern region of the country, and most of those who presented comments to the committee were from Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Several members of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation spoke, including Ken Barton, farmer and executive director of the Florida Peanut Producers Association. “I’m especially grateful to our Florida delegation, Congressmen Dunn and Yoho for hosting today’s event. While citrus is bigger than peanuts in Florida, our delegation understands how important the Peanut Program is to Florida’s economy,” Barton said. “(It) was a good opportunity to discuss how a fair reference price brings certainty to farming – both when demand is high, like it is currently, and during times of economic downturn.”

Commodities represented at the microphone were across the board, from poultry and cattle, corn and soybeans, to cotton and peanuts, vegetables, citrus, timber and more.

Listen to the session in segments below:

Segment 1 (45 minutes) – House Ag Farm Bill Field Hearing – Florida – part 1
Segment 2 (45 minutes) – House Ag Farm Bill Field Hearing – Florida – part 2
Segment 2 (45 minutes) – House Ag Farm Bill Field Hearing – Florida – part 3

AgWired Animal, Audio, farm bill, Government, Peanuts

Animal Ag Bites 6/23

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  • Zoetis joins existing industry partners, adoption organizations and equine advocates in partnering with the Right Horse Initiative to help horses in transition and promote adoption as a preferred method of finding a horse.
  • Angus Productions Inc. (API) has selected Rick Cozzitorto to take the helm as API’s new President. His role will begin June 30th.
  • Zoetis, in partnership with American Horse Publications (AHP), presented Sydney Knott, founder, president, and CEO of Horses4Heroes, with the 2017 Equine Industry Vision Award. The award recognizes ingenuity and service and works to inspire those qualities in others.
  • The boards of directors for Select Sires Inc. and Accelerated Genetics have reached a unanimous decision to unify the two cooperatives. Select Sires will acquire the assets of Accelerated Genetics and the two companies will join forces of employees and independent sales representatives in each of their geographical member organizations.
  • AgWired Animal, Zimfo Bytes

    USDA Halts Imports of Fresh Brazilian Beef

    jamie johansen Leave a Comment

    U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the suspension of all imports of fresh beef from Brazil because of recurring concerns about the safety of the products intended for the American market.

    Since March, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has been inspecting 100% of all meat products arriving in the U.S. from Brazil. FSIS has refused entry to 11% of Brazilian fresh beef products. Since implementation of the increased inspection, FSIS has refused entry to approximately 1.9 million lbs. of Brazilian beef products due to public health concerns, sanitary conditions, and animal health issues. It is important to note that none of the rejected lots made it into the U.S. market.

    Perdue said, “Ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply is one of our critical missions, and it’s one we undertake with great seriousness. Although international trade is an important part of what we do at USDA, and Brazil has long been one of our partners, my first priority is to protect American consumers. That’s what we’ve done by halting the import of Brazilian fresh beef. I commend the work of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service for painstakingly safeguarding the food we serve our families.”

    Ag Group, AgWired Animal, Beef, usda

    Panel Offers Food Company Perspectives

    kelly marshall Leave a Comment

    The Opening Session of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) annual meeting featured three speakers offering “Perspectives from Today’s Major Food Companies.”  John Wiebold from General Mills, Jenny Verner from Cargill, Inc., and Autumn Price representing Land O’Lakes each addressed the audience before participating in a panel discussion and taking questions from the audience. Each spoke of the challenges of feeding the world balanced against the needs of the environment and the changing consumer who is more aware of these issues.

    “We believe the work that we do upstream in our supply chain has a direct impact on the ecosystems around the world and we want to leverage that for positive,” said John Wiebold regarding General Mills. “So as we roll forward not only do we want to help farmers but we want to help farming communities around the world.”

    “Farming is not big gardening,” he continued. Crops need a stable climate and it’s important to work across the entire value chain to ensure crops are available now and in the future. Listen to Wiebold’s full remarks here: Remarks by John Wiebold, General Mills

    The challenges of nourishing 9 billion people concern the folks at Cargill as well, noted Jenny Verner. “You care a lot about what you put into your body, what you feed your family, what you feed your friends. And so for us as an industry, it really is a powerful opportunity to work collaboratively to help people come together and solve the world’s issues.”

    Those solutions will involve transparency, sustainability, and trade, Verner asserts. Listen to her full address here: Remarks by Jenny Verner, Cargill, Inc.

    Autumn Price reiterated that Land O’Lakes believes in these ideals too, but also stressed support for science-based farming.

    “We’ve stayed true to our roots as a farmer-owned cooperative and are honored to be advocates to the farmers and producers who are our members. We’ve also expanded and evolved our businesses to meet the challenges and changing demands of farmers, customers, and consumers in the last 100 years.”  Listen to her comments here: Remarks by Autumn Price, Land O’Lakes

    2017 ASTA Annual Meeting Flickr album

    Ag Group, AgWired Animal, AgWired Precision, ASTA, Audio, Food Security

    ASI Debuts SheepCast

    jamie johansen Leave a Comment

    The American Sheep Industry (ASI) debuts their broadcast, SheepCast. The weekly audio program is designed to keep you up to date on the latest happenings in the sheep industry.

    This week, ASI discusses the efforts on behalf of the nation’s 88,000 sheep producers. Top priorities are maintaining support for agricultural research in the upcoming farm bill and continued work toward ensuring producers have access to effective predator control through USDA Wildlife Services.

    Ag Group, AgWired Animal, Audio, Sheep

    Trump Commits to Agriculture in Iowa

    lizzy schultz Leave a Comment

    President Donald Trump stood among various models of John Deere and Case IH farm equipment as he pledged to boost agriculture exports, loosen federal regulations on the agriculture industry, and support ethanol and biofuels yesterday while speaking to a crowd of about 250 at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

    “Today we are celebrating the dignity of work and the greatness of the American farmer,” said President Trump. “I’m not a farmer, but I’d be very happy to be one. It’s a very beautiful world to be in.”

    President Trump began his speech by congratulating former Iowa governor Terry Branstad before he leaves for Beijing on Friday to begin serving his new role as U.S. Ambassador to China. Branstad stepped up to the podium following the send-off to praise the Trump Administration’s work in re-gaining access for U.S. beef in China.

    In his speech, President Trump pledged to support and protect corn-based ethanol and biofuels, emphasized his commitment to reforming the nation’s existing trade agreements, advocated for improving rural infrastructure, including access to rural broadband and increased resources for vocational programs like Kirkwood, and pledged to eliminate “the intrusive rules that undermine farmers’ ability to make a living.”

    “U.S. farmers produce great products, but you have to work too hard and too long to make a living,” said President Trump. “We’re going to make it easier to produce and grow in America by eliminating job-killing regulations and supporting schools like Kirkwood that are helping to train young people in the cutting edge technologies that are making American agriculture greater and more productive than ever before.”

    Prior to his speech, President Trump toured Kirkwood and learned about the institution’s successful precision agriculture program. He expressed sincere understanding and respect for the technologies that have advanced modern agriculture and pledged his support for the continued advancement of agricultural technologies and educational programs.

    “If we continue to train our workers in these new technologies, then we will usher in a new era of prosperity for American agriculture and for the American farming family,” he said.

    Listen to the full speech here: President Trump at Kirkwood Community College

    Ag Group, AgWired AgNewsWire, AgWired Animal, AgWired Energy, AgWired Precision, Audio, Government, politics

    Joe Swedberg to Lead Farm Foundation Board

    kelly marshall Leave a Comment

    Joe C. Swedberg of Longmont, CO., was elected to serve as chairman of the Board of Directors of Farm Foundation on June 9th at the Board’s annual meeting in Charlottesville, VA, succedding Mark Scholl from Owensboro, KY. Larkin Martin, Courtland, AL, was elected to serve as Vice Chair.

    In addition to the election, the Farm Foundation Trust Agreement name has been changed to Legge Lowden Farm Foundation Trust. The six-member Board of Trustees will have responsibility for the Trust and insuring the mission of the Trust is fulfilled. The operating entity has also recieved a name change, moving from Farm Foundation, NFP to Trust to Farm Foundation.

    Ag Group, AgWired Animal, AgWired Precision, Farm Foundation

    2017 World Pork Expo: The Highlights

    lizzy schultz Leave a Comment

    More than 20,000 pork producers and ag professionals from throughout the world attended the 29th World Pork Expo, June 7-9, in Des Moines. Presented by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), the 2017 Expo hosted more than 1,000 international guests from nearly 40 countries. We spent the days mainly in the media room covering the latest from the pork community. Content has been accumulated in its own Virtual Ag Newsroom at AgNewswire sponsored by Aptimmune Biologics.

    This virtual newsroom includes links to photos, audio, and video from the conference. All content posted here is available free of charge for digital or print publication or broadcast. Credit can be given to AgNewsWire.

    Highlights Include:

    “World Pork Expo gives producers the opportunity to see and touch the newest products and technologies for their pork businesses,” says Ken Maschhoff, NPPC president and Illinois pork producer. “It’s a place for producers to interact with each other and share ideas. It also gives employees at all levels a chance to learn, deepen their connection to pork production and have some fun.” Interview with Ken Maschhoff, NPPC president

    The National Pork Board, with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, announced a new program during this year’s expo. The Secure Pork Supply Plan is a voluntary program designed to support American farmers during a foreign animal disease outbreak. The plan is supported by health officials, not only because it will support them during an outbreak, but also because it can help with understanding where the disease is and isn’t. Interview with Patrick Webb, National Pork Board

    On opening day of World Pork Expo, Aptimmune Biologics launched the world’s first commercially available mucosal PRRSV vaccine for swine. “Aptimmune has benefited from ground-breaking research conducted at the University of Illinois, The Ohio State University, and several private companies,” said Aptimmune CEO Aaron Gilbertie during a press conference. “We are proud the launch of BARRICADE® validates our collaborative innovation model. We are exceptionally pleased with early customer feedback. In the coming months, we expect to launch additional vaccines formulated with BARRICADE®, including influenza.” Interview with Aptimmune CEO Aaron Gilbertie

    All photos from #WPX17 can be viewed and/or downloaded here: 2017 World Pork Expo photos

    Coverage of the World Pork Expo is sponsored by
    Coverage of the World Pork Expo is sponsored by Aptimmune
    Ag Group, AgWired Animal, Audio, NPPC, Pork, World Pork Expo