Farm Bill Poised for Passage

cindy zimmerman

The Senate voted 87-13 yesterday to pass the 2018 Farm Bill approved by the conference committee this week and the House is expected to do so soon.

“We think the farm bill’s in very good shape,” said President Trump as he sat down with Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), just before getting into a spat with them over border wall funding. “That will be quite bipartisan and it will happen pretty soon.”

Audio – President Trump comments on farm bill

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (TX-11) released a video yesterday highlighting the wins in the 2018 Farm Bill conference report for rural America and calling on his colleagues to pass the legislation.

“Over five months of negotiations—now is the time to do it, and I hope to persuade my Republican colleagues that that’s the case,” says Conaway. “Once this is all said and done, I will be one happy camper.”

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Animal Ag Bites 12/10

carrie muehling

  • Debuting at the 2019 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Ga., the Latin American Poultry Summit will exclusively feature leading industry experts who will address technical topics covering live production and processing issues of greatest priority to Latin American poultry and egg professionals. Sponsored by the International Poultry Expo – part of IPPE, WATT Global Media and the Latin American Poultry Association, the summit is a one-and-a-half-day program scheduled from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, and 8 a.m.–12 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
  • U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the government of Morocco has agreed to allow imports of U.S. beef and beef products into Morocco. 2018 is the first year that U.S. beef and poultry exporters have access to Morocco’s market under the terms of the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement. Morocco opened its market to U.S. poultry in August 2018.
  • National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Kevin Kester issued the following statement in response to the announcement that U.S. beef gained new market access in Morocco: “Open markets are the lifeblood of the U.S. cattle and beef industry. New access to Morocco is welcome news for producers and we are excited that Moroccan consumers can now enjoy high-quality U.S. beef. NCBA is grateful for the leadership President Trump, Ambassador Lighthizer, and Ambassador Doud have shown on this issue. We look forward to working with them to continue tearing down trade barriers for U.S. beef in markets around the world.”
  • U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) is releasing a seventh video in a series highlighting environmental stewardship on poultry and egg farms. The video features one of USPOULTRY’s Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award winners, Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch in Saranac, Mich., the largest egg producer in Michigan. The video can be viewed on USPOULTRY’s YouTube channel.
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Animal Ag Bites 12/3

carrie muehling

  • Six college students and three collegiate clubs from Oklahoma State University, University of Georgia, Mississippi College, Western Illinois University and Northwest Missouri State University are taking home scholarships for the holidays for being exceptional advocates for agriculture. To learn more about CAO, visit
  • Cargill is opening a new headquarters of its North American protein operations. The new state-of-the-art building was created as a destination to retain and recruit top talent and immerse customers in innovative culinary and food sensory experiences. The headquarters connects Cargill’s 800 Wichita-based employees with 28,000 additional colleagues across North America and more than three dozen protein production facilities in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Sanderson Farms, the third-largest producer of chicken in the U.S., announced this morning that it will eliminate the use of antibiotics considered medically important for humans for disease prevention in its live poultry operations. Sanderson is the last of the country’s four major chicken producers to move away from routine use of medically important antibiotics.
  • National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Kevin Kester issued the following statement in response to the signing of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA): “With the signing of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, U.S. beef producers are one step closer to knowing that unrestricted, science-based trade will continue in North America. The agreement brings the trading relationship with our neighbors into the 21st century – and clearly rejects the failed beef and cattle trade policies of the past. Open markets have helped U.S. producers flourish and created billion dollar markets for U.S. beef. We look forward to working with Congress to get USMCA passed into law as quickly as possible.”
  • U.S. Poultry & Egg Association will host its annual Poultry Market Intelligence Forum at the 2019 International Production & Processing Expo in Atlanta.
  • Beef was a hot commodity in Lancaster, PA, at the area’s premier food festival, attracting consumers who enjoy the pleasures of eating and entertaining with food. The TASTE! Lancaster Festival of Food, Wine & Spirits 2018 welcomed nearly 8,000 guests to the Lancaster Convention Center on November 16 & 17. Chef Barry Strand, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, was on-site to demonstrate the new culinary craze of Beef Poke, sharing its trendy appeal to the millennial and foodie crowd.
  • Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin has named Suzanne Fanning as Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Wisconsin Cheese.
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Research Positive for Lamb Industry

carrie muehling

The future for the U.S. lamb industry is bright, according to Ohio sheep producer Jim Percival, current chair of the American Lamb Board.

“One of the big things that our research has showed us is that the Millennials are truly lovers of lamb,” said Percival. “They like the adventurous eating part of lamb. They like that taste. They love the texture. They love the fact that lamb is juicy and good and they like the portion sizes. With lamb you’re getting a little bit different there, and they like the nutritious benefits, also.”

Percival said U.S. demand for lamb is growing by about two percent each year, and the export market to Japan recently opened up for the first time since the BSE scare several years ago. He said lamb is a diverse, premium protein that is also extremely lean. Percival participated in Trade Talk at the 2018 National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention in Kansas City.

Listen to Cindy’s interview with Jim here: NAFB18 Interview with Jim Percival, American Lamb Board chair

2018 National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention Photo Album

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USDA Under Secretary Northey at #ARA2018

cindy zimmerman

Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service Bill Northey discussed trade and a 2018 farm bill, among other topics, during a visit to the 2018 Agricultural Retailers Association convention this week in Boca Raton, Florida.

“I’m very hopeful,” said Northey about getting a farm bill by the end of the year, especially after word Thursday from House and Senate agriculture committee leadership that they have reached an agreement on a bill.

On the trade front, Northey talked about the second round of trade mitigation payments approved by the president to offset export disruptions caused by retaliatory tariffs, and whether changes will be made in the payment structure used for the first round. “We’re within a very few weeks of being able to make an announcement,” said Northey, who said they are looking at potential changes. “It’s imperfect, but what’s important is that the president and secretary said we are going to try and soften the blow as best we can.”

USDA Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service Bill Northey –
USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey comments at #ARA2018

USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey interview at #ARA2018

2018 ARA Conference & Expo Photo Album

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Animal Ag Bites 11/26

carrie muehling

  • The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has announced the winning teams in its fall Purple Plow Challenge, Cattle Ranch Riddle. Each team won a 3-D printer and a $100 gift card for classroom use. The following teams were selected as the winners in this national competition: Meadow Groves Farms, Charles R Drew Middle School in Lincoln, Alabama; White River Valley FFA, White River Valley High School in Switz City, Indiana; Girls STEM Team, Brooks County Middle School in Quitman, Georgia; Circle G Ranch, Rosalia School District in Rosalia, Washington.
  • In August, Cargill launched the #putyourherdfirst campaign to support The Great American Milk Drive. More than 65,000 people engaged with the campaign on Facebook and Cargill announced that all 200 food banks in the Feeding America network will receive 500 servings of milk.
  • Wisconsin is taking steps to boldly claim its rightful place as the state of cheese and answer the question, “Why Wisconsin?” A new video ad showcases Wisconsin cheesemakers with beautiful wheels, blocks and cuts of cheese from companies across the state. Viewers will see the ads in digital publications such as Saveur, Epicurious, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Martha Stewart, and on Food Network, and Food52, as well as on the website beginning on November 19.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture scientist Manuel Borca is the recipient of the 2018 Daniel E. Salmon Award for critical contributions to protecting world animal health against infectious diseases.
  • The National Pork Producers Council, National Pork Board and U.S. Meat Export Federation recently collaborated to arrange an international trip to Colombia for 14 delegates from the Pork Leadership Institute. The group toured the Colombian Congress, a large wet market, the country’s largest packing plant, a retail supermarket that sold U.S. pork ribs and loins and restaurants that also sold U.S. pork.
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Enogen Means Energy for Feed and Fuel

cindy zimmerman

The same trait that makes Enogen corn hybrids great for ethanol production is also good for livestock feed.

The higher levels of the alpha-amylase enzyme in these hybrids help break down sugar into energy more efficiently which benefits both ethanol producers and cattle. “The Enogen technology and how it gains efficiencies and makes the ethanol plant money is similar in the rumen of a cow,” said Chris Tingle, head of commercial operations for Enogen at Syngenta, at the 2018 NAFB Convention Trade Talk. He says recent data from Kansas State and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln shows about a five percent increase in feed efficiency. “Which is critical when we see the tensions of those markets now and every penny counts.”

Meanwhile, Enogen’s ethanol plant footprint continues to grow. Learn more in this interview –
NAFB18 Interview with Chris Tingle, Syngenta

2018 NAFB Convention Photo Album

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USDA and FDA to Jointly Regulate Cell-Cultured Meat

cindy zimmerman

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have announced plans to jointly oversee the production of cell-cultured food products derived from livestock and poultry, better known by meat producers as “fake meat.”

The joint regulatory framework would include FDA overseeing cell collection, cell banks, and cell growth and differentiation. A transition from FDA to USDA oversight will occur during the cell harvest stage. USDA will then oversee the production and labeling of food products derived from the cells of livestock and poultry.

The National Cattlmen’s Beef Association says the announcement is a step in the right direction, but there is still a lot of work to do on the issue.

At the recent NAFB Trade Talk, NCBA president-elect Jennifer Houston talked about fake meat and her recent testimony at a joint hearing on the topic. “Where NCBA comes down is that USDA food safety inspection service should have the inspection (for fake meat),” said Houston. “If these new companies are going to be in our space of meat, then they should have the same inspection.”

Listen here: NAFB18 Interview with Jennifer Houston, NCBA

2018 National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention Photo Album

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Animal Ag Bites 11/19

carrie muehling

  • The annual Animal Agriculture Sustainability Summit will once again be held at the 2019 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta. The event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, and is offered free of charge to all registered IPPE attendees.
  • The lawsuit filed by the Organization for Competitive Markets in 2014 over USDA’s refusal to release public audit and financial documents related to Beef Checkoff Program spending has begun its summary judgment phase with a court decision expected in early Spring 2019 as to whether the audit and financial records must be released to the public.
  • Steve Murty was recently named a Vita Plus forage products specialist. Based in central Iowa, Murty will provide on-farm forage support for staff and dairy producers in Wisconsin, northern Illinois, northern Iowa, Minnesota and eastern South Dakota.
  • Lotito Foods introduces Cheese Folios™. The Cheese Folios line includes lightly baked pliable sheets of cheese made from Parmesan, Cheddar or Jarlsberg® cheese. These quick and easy baked recipes have only 1 gram of carbs and provide 12 grams of protein per serving.
  • Afimilk, a leading provider of advanced software solutions for dairy and herd management, announced the commercial availability of AfiFarm 5.3, the latest in the company’s market-leading product line of dairy management software, and Afi2Go Pro, a new mobile app designed to provide management teams with the ultimate in flexibility.
  • The USPOULTRY Foundation recently received a $100,000 check from Pilgrim’s. The check is the final contribution of Pilgrim’s commitment to the USPOULTRY Foundation’s Ensuring the Future campaign to enhance the stability and prosperity of the poultry and egg industries.
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