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FDA’s advice to footnote ‘added sugars’ gets tart replies

Capital Press | Posted on June 18, 2018 in Federal, Food News

The Food and Drug Administration has been flooded this month with sour comments about its plan to require honey, maple syrup and cranberry products to include “added sugars” on nutrition labels.Remarks from New England maple syrup makers have been particularly bitter. They say they don’t “add” sugar to their naturally sugary product. “The only thing the producers do is evaporate water from the sap of this liquid gold,” one commented.The FDA counters that consumers should know how much “added sugar” maple syrup adds to pancakes.

H7N9 could be next deadly pandemic

Newsweek | Posted on June 18, 2018 in Rural News

A deadly new strain of bird flu threatens to become a worldwide pandemic, health officials warn. Britain’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam says the strain, which has already killed one-third of infected patients in China, could be the feared Disease X, an unknown pathogen that could cause an international health crisis. The H7N9 avian flu virus has infected 1,600 people and killed more than 600 in China since October 2016. Most of the infected came in contact with contaminated poultry, the World Health Organization said.

Human activity is causing more and more animals to embrace the night

Science Magazine | Posted on June 18, 2018 in News

As humans encroach more and more on wildlife habitats, animals are finding that the best way to survive isn’t to pack up and move—it’s to embrace the night life. That’s the conclusion of a new study, which shows that a variety of previously diurnal animals such as foxes, deer, and boars have become nocturnal to avoid human activity out of fear. But this nighttime switch comes with its own risks.

SARL Members and Alumni News

Cheese plant wants OK to dump 2M gallons of waste water into Big Sioux each day

Argus Leader | Posted on June 13, 2018

A Hamlin County cheese manufacturer expanding its operations needs a permit from the South Dakota environmental office to dump millions of gallons of waste water per day into the Big Sioux River. But environmental buffs and officials with several water systems in the region say the move could put drinking water supplies downstream at risk.Wisconsin-based Agropur earlier this year began a substantial expansion to its facility in Lake Norden that would increase its ability to process milk by six million pounds per day.

Texas couple won’t abide by state’s definition of a pickle

Capital Press | Posted on June 13, 2018

A Texas couple claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that burdensome state regulations have put them in a pickle because they’re prevented from supplementing their income by selling more of their produce at farmers’ markets. Jim and Anita McHaney argue in their lawsuit filed against the Texas Department of State Health Services that the so-called cottage food law only permits them to sell one pickled item: cucumbers.The law governs the sale of produce, pies and other goods at places like markets and fairs.

Saratoga not giving up after State Supreme Court rules in favor of proposed dairy

Wisconsin Rapids Tribune | Posted on June 13, 2018

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the owners of a proposed large-scale dairy near Wisconsin Rapids can farm 6,388 acres of related land despite a town zoning ordinance. The court, in a 5-2 decision, reversed an appeals court's 2017 ruling that building permits for the proposed 5,300-cow dairy did not allow the Wysocki Family of Companies to farm the adjacent land.

Amendment defunds grizzly transport, delists wolves

Capital Press | Posted on June 13, 2018

A U.S. Interior Department appropriations bill, just passed out of committee, includes an amendment from Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., that defunds transporting grizzly bears into the North Cascades, delists gray wolves and increases transparency of grazing permit monitoring.

Easy entry into Oregon’s legal pot market means huge surplus

Capital Press | Posted on June 13, 2018

Experts say the dizzying evolution of Oregon’s marijuana industry may well be a cautionary tale for California.

Agriculture News

USMEF says Mexico's retalitory tariffs could cost $1billion

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on June 18, 2018

The loss of market share in Mexico, the top foreign market for U.S. pork, as a result of its retaliatory tariffs will lower the value of U.S. pork because products that will not go to Mexico would be absorbed by other markets and the domestic market — at lower prices, USMEF said. “Looking only at ham prices, the drop in the primal value could translate into losses to the industry of more than $300 million for the remainder of the year, which would be roughly $600 million over the next year,” the report states. “Picnics are the other primal likely to be impacted.

Mountaire Farms formally targeted in class action lawsuit

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on June 18, 2018

A consent decree Mountaire Farms reached with Delaware environmental officials last week is formally being challenged by a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 700 local residents. The lawsuit against the Millsboro, Del.-based processor claims that the consent decree with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is “wholly inadequate” in addressing what the suit calls Mountaire’s inadequate treatment of wastewater from its poultry plant.

U.S.–China Trade Dispute and Potential Impacts on Agriculture

Choices magazine | Posted on June 13, 2018

The United States and China, the world’s largest economic powers, have dueled in an escalating trade dispute since January 2018. This ever-changing story continues to evolve, with additional tariffs announced by the United States as we go to press in late May 2018. Given this recent dispute that has moved agriculture from the back pages to the front pages of media, Choices publishes this special issue on “U.S.-China Trade Dispute and Potential Impacts on Agriculture.” This trade dispute is important to U.S.

Cheese plant wants OK to dump 2M gallons of waste water into Big Sioux each day

Argus Leader | Posted on June 13, 2018

A Hamlin County cheese manufacturer expanding its operations needs a permit from the South Dakota environmental office to dump millions of gallons of waste water per day into the Big Sioux River. But environmental buffs and officials with several water systems in the region say the move could put drinking water supplies downstream at risk.Wisconsin-based Agropur earlier this year began a substantial expansion to its facility in Lake Norden that would increase its ability to process milk by six million pounds per day.

Time Running Out for Agriculture ELD Exemption

DTN | Posted on June 13, 2018

While the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) 90-day electronic logging device (ELD) waiver for agriculture truckers expires June 18, one group has already been granted an extension until fall. When President Donald Trump signed the $1.3 trillion spending bill in March 2018, it also passed an extension on the ELD implementation for livestock haulers. The bill, passed on March 23, included a mandate for livestock and insect haulers to have an exemption through September 30, 2018.

Federal News

FDA’s advice to footnote ‘added sugars’ gets tart replies

Capital Press | Posted on June 18, 2018

The Food and Drug Administration has been flooded this month with sour comments about its plan to require honey, maple syrup and cranberry products to include “added sugars” on nutrition labels.Remarks from New England maple syrup makers have been particularly bitter. They say they don’t “add” sugar to their naturally sugary product. “The only thing the producers do is evaporate water from the sap of this liquid gold,” one commented.The FDA counters that consumers should know how much “added sugar” maple syrup adds to pancakes.

Initial Review of the Senate Ag Committee's Draft 2018 Farm Bill

Farm Doc Daily | Posted on June 13, 2018

The Senate Ag Committee draft bill contains reauthorizations for all twelve titles from the 2014 Farm Bill, much of which constitutes fairly straight-forward extensions of authorizations and funds, some with minor modifications. The Senate draft bill also includes reauthorization of the programs in the energy title which was eliminated by the House Ag Committee bill.

Time Running Out for Agriculture ELD Exemption

DTN | Posted on June 13, 2018

While the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) 90-day electronic logging device (ELD) waiver for agriculture truckers expires June 18, one group has already been granted an extension until fall. When President Donald Trump signed the $1.3 trillion spending bill in March 2018, it also passed an extension on the ELD implementation for livestock haulers. The bill, passed on March 23, included a mandate for livestock and insect haulers to have an exemption through September 30, 2018.

ICE Raid at Corso’s Leads to More Than 100 Arrests

Greenhouse Grower | Posted on June 13, 2018

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents made more than 100 arrests Tuesday at Corso’s Flower and Garden Center in northern Ohio, aided by about 200 law enforcement workers, in one of the largest employer stings in recent years.

USDA streamlines produce safety rule

Brownfield Ag News | Posted on June 13, 2018

The USDA and FDA have streamlined produce safety requirements for specialty crop growers. U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says the agency’s Harmonized Good Agricultural Practices Audit Program now aligns with the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Safety Rule and inspection requirements from both agencies will be less of a burden for farmers.FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says his agency is working to provide more resources to states which conduct most of the food safety inspections.

Rural News

H7N9 could be next deadly pandemic

Newsweek | Posted on June 18, 2018

A deadly new strain of bird flu threatens to become a worldwide pandemic, health officials warn. Britain’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam says the strain, which has already killed one-third of infected patients in China, could be the feared Disease X, an unknown pathogen that could cause an international health crisis. The H7N9 avian flu virus has infected 1,600 people and killed more than 600 in China since October 2016. Most of the infected came in contact with contaminated poultry, the World Health Organization said.

School’s Closed. Forever.

The New York Times | Posted on June 13, 2018

What happens to a rural town after it loses its only school? Arena, Wis., is about to find out.  Arena Elementary is the second small rural elementary school in two years to close in the district, nearly 300 square miles of rolling pastures and dairy farms in southwestern Wisconsin. The one in the neighboring village of Lone Rock closed last spring. The district now has just one open public elementary school, in Spring Green, nine miles away.The same scene is playing out across rural America.

Why rural Americans are far less optimistic about their financial future

Market Watch | Posted on June 13, 2018

cross the country, Americans’ anxiety about their finances is worsening. And rural residents are far more pessimistic about their financial prospects. Only 36% of Americans living in rural counties — who don’t earn enough to pay for the lifestyle they want — believed that situation would improve in the future, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center. Comparatively, nearly half of those living in urban and suburban areas who were in the same boat were optimistic about their financial futures.

Report brings 17 recommendations for rural Communities

 | Posted on June 13, 2018

The 28-page report, called Rural Challenges, national opportunity – Shaping the future of rural Canada, was released May 31 during the FCM annual meeting. It lists details of how important rural municipal contributions are and how unique the issues and problems these communities face.

Study Finds Rural Communities Quickly Realize Benefits Outpacing Costs of Broadband

Government Technology | Posted on June 13, 2018

Researchers found using formulaic forecasts that three of the five counties would see the annual collective benefit from broadband great enough to surpass public investment in just one year. A fourth county, Sibley, would take just over a year to reach that mark and the last, Lake County, the least populous, taking just over six years.While the forecast points to a quick success, only one of the county has had access to broadband long enough to show concrete progress.

Energy News

Trump, Oil of Less Concern Than Climate Change for Top Companies

Bloomberg | Posted on June 13, 2018

The world’s biggest companies are increasingly worried about climate change. The terms “climate” and “weather” combined were among the most frequently discussed topics among executives of Standard & Poor’s 500 companies, beating “Trump,” “the dollar,” “oil” and “recession” according to analysis of 10 years of earnings call transcripts by S&P Global Ratings. “The effect of climate risk and severe weather events on corporate earnings is meaningful,” S&P said in the joint report with Hamilton, Bermuda-based Resilience Economics Ltd.

Trump orders Perry to stop coal, nuclear retirements

Utility Dive | Posted on June 13, 2018

President Trump directed Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to stop the closure of coal and nuclear plants, pushed offline by cheaper electricity from natural gas and renewables. The president told Perry to “prepare immediate steps” to stop the plants from retiring, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said, adding that “impending retirements of fuel-secure power facilities are leading a rapid depletion of a critical part of our nation’s energy mix, and impacting the resilience of our power grid."

Exelon CEO: No grid emergency to justify DOE coal, nuke bailout

Utility Dive | Posted on June 13, 2018

The CEO of the largest nuclear generator in the U.S. says the retirement of coal and nuclear plants does not constitute a grid emergency that warrants urgent intervention from the federal government, as President Donald Trump directed last week. Exelon CEO Chris Crane said the case for a grid emergency is difficult to make in the PJM Interconnection, the site of many potential retirements, when its reserve margin remains so high — 22% in its latest capacity auction. The company has not advocated for emergency action to save plants from retirement, he said.

For a small Colorado utility, 100% renewable energy is old news

Energy News | Posted on June 12, 2018

Aspen Electric, the municipal utility serving the resort town of the same name, achieved 100 percent renewables in 2015, and it didn’t break the bank to do so. Residential rates for Aspen’s customers rank among the lowest in Colorado, while meeting a 100 percent renewable energy goal set by Aspen’s city council 13 years earlier. And this month, upgrades to a Nebraska wind farm, of which Aspen Electric is a major customer, will push the utility’s costs even lower – dropping about 15 percent annually, or $475,000.

Tests show toxic heavy metals near Wisconsin sand mine spill

ABC News | Posted on June 12, 2018

Wisconsin officials found elevated levels of toxic heavy metals near a frack sand mine spill that sent millions of gallons of sludge into a tributary, carrying it downstream into the Mississippi River.

Food News

FDA’s advice to footnote ‘added sugars’ gets tart replies

Capital Press | Posted on June 18, 2018

The Food and Drug Administration has been flooded this month with sour comments about its plan to require honey, maple syrup and cranberry products to include “added sugars” on nutrition labels.Remarks from New England maple syrup makers have been particularly bitter. They say they don’t “add” sugar to their naturally sugary product. “The only thing the producers do is evaporate water from the sap of this liquid gold,” one commented.The FDA counters that consumers should know how much “added sugar” maple syrup adds to pancakes.

FDA plans meeting on meat from cultured cells

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on June 18, 2018

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a July 12 meeting to discuss issues around the production and regulation of foods created from culturing animal cells. The meeting comes as more companies seek ways to develop “meat” and other foods without conventional farming practices, and as even traditional meat processors invest more in such companies. The trend has launched a debate about what can be defined as meat, how “cultured” products can be marketed and how they will be regulated.

‘BE’ label launch may cost more than feds yearly spend on food safety

Food Safety News | Posted on June 13, 2018

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue meanwhile is rolling out the new rules for labeling genetically engineered foods. The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) as adopted by Congress requires food manufacturers to label food for retail sales to include information about bioengineered (BE) food and food ingredients. According to a 114-page economic analysis, additional costs for the initial year of labeling is going to cost the food industry and ultimately consumers $600 million to $3.5 billion.

Texas couple won’t abide by state’s definition of a pickle

Capital Press | Posted on June 13, 2018

A Texas couple claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that burdensome state regulations have put them in a pickle because they’re prevented from supplementing their income by selling more of their produce at farmers’ markets. Jim and Anita McHaney argue in their lawsuit filed against the Texas Department of State Health Services that the so-called cottage food law only permits them to sell one pickled item: cucumbers.The law governs the sale of produce, pies and other goods at places like markets and fairs.

Online butcher, meat delivery service gets $3.7M in seed funding

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on June 13, 2018

Online whole animal butcher shop and delivery service Porter Road said it has secured $3.7 million in seed funding from multiple investors. Chefs/butchers Chris Carter and James Peisker founded the company as a brick-and-mortar butcher shop in Nashville in 2011 and, after developing a cult following, launched the online business in February 2018.