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Ag and Food Law Consortium to Host Webinar on GM Salmon and Other GMO Reg Issues

National Ag Law Center | Posted on April 27, 2017 in Agriculture News

The Agricultural and Food Law Consortium will host a webinar will provide an overview of legal issues surrounding genetically engineered and genetically modified products in aquaculture, as well as an overview of GMO regulatory issues, including labeling. The presentations will discuss the AquAdvantage salmon case study and recent legal developments.The webinar will take place on Wednesday, May 17, 12noon – 3pm (EST).
 

Family Dairies Applauded for Placing Caps on Dairy Production

Wisconsin Ag Connection | Posted on April 27, 2017 in Agriculture News

The leader of the Wisconsin Farmers Union is praising the Madison-based Family Dairies USA for being pro-active and working with farmers to limit the milk that comes in, rather than dumping it or selling it for below-market prices after the fact. WFU President Darin Von Ruden said he also commends the cooperative for asking all of their members to shoulder a little of the burden of managing over-supply.

Feral hog slaughterhouse takes off in New Orleans

The Salt Lake Tribune | Posted on April 27, 2017 in Food News

In a region that takes food seriously, feral hogs are despised as destructive, but their rich, dark meat is winning fans among Louisiana chefs. A small slaughterhouse is butchering the wild pigs , which cause the state $76 million-plus in annual damage, and selling sausage to grocery stores and meat to restaurants, where chefs are turning it into savory prosciutto, chorizo and meatballs."To me, it is the most interesting thing I have seen in years," said Rene Bajeux, executive chef for the Palace Cafe and three other Dickie Brennan & Co. restaurants in New Orleans.

SARL Members and Alumni News

Maine governor wants to out those hired to film animal cruelty

ABC News | Posted on April 27, 2017

A bill drawn up by Republican Gov. Paul LePage would make public the names of animal activists hired to film undercover footage of animal cruelty.

America's Utility Of The Future Takes Shape In Illinois, Ohio, And Minnesota

Forbes | Posted on April 27, 2017

This past March, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) initiated NextGrid, an 18-month, consumer-focused collaborative process to “transform Illinois’ energy landscape and economy.” Specifically, Next Grid aims to uncover opportunities to value and optimize distributed energy resources (DERs) like rooftop solar panels or energy efficiency, and facilitate grid decarbonization.  As the power sector and technology industries converge toward DER integration, NextGrid will highlight opportunities to enable a more dynamic relationship between customers and their utilities.

New Arizona law offers consumers relief from surprise doctor bills

Arizona Central | Posted on April 27, 2017

Arizona consumers could get some limited relief from surprise medical bills that exceed $1,000 under legislation approved by the state Legislature. Senate Bill 1441, sponsored by Sen. Debbie Lesko, R- Peoria, passed a contentious House committee hearing last week before sailing through the Senate. Gov. Doug Ducey signed the bill into law Monday.

NC hog farm protection bill clears Senate

The Raleigh News Observer | Posted on April 27, 2017

A bill that would protect North Carolina’s hog farms and agricultural operations from lawsuits over smells and other nuisances won approval in the N.C. Senate Wednesday night.  The bill passed in a 30-19 vote, with four Republicans joining all Senate Democrats in opposition to the bill.  The legislation, House Bill 467, will now go to the House for final approval. The House has already passed a similar bill, which limits the amount of money people can collect in lawsuits against agricultural operations. Rep.

TN Broadband And Accessibility Act Sent To Governor's Desk

Newschannel 5 | Posted on April 24, 2017

The House of Representatives passed the Governor's Tennessee Broadband and Accessibility Act in a 93-4 vote, sending it to Governor Haslam's desk for signature.  The bill aims to increase broadband access to Tennessee’s unserved citizens. Tennessee currently ranks 29th in the U.S. for broadband access, with 34 percent of rural Tennessee residents lacking access at recognized minimum standards.The Senate passed the legislation 31-0 on April 3.

Agriculture News

Ag and Food Law Consortium to Host Webinar on GM Salmon and Other GMO Reg Issues

National Ag Law Center | Posted on April 27, 2017

The Agricultural and Food Law Consortium will host a webinar will provide an overview of legal issues surrounding genetically engineered and genetically modified products in aquaculture, as well as an overview of GMO regulatory issues, including labeling. The presentations will discuss the AquAdvantage salmon case study and recent legal developments.The webinar will take place on Wednesday, May 17, 12noon – 3pm (EST).
 

Family Dairies Applauded for Placing Caps on Dairy Production

Wisconsin Ag Connection | Posted on April 27, 2017

The leader of the Wisconsin Farmers Union is praising the Madison-based Family Dairies USA for being pro-active and working with farmers to limit the milk that comes in, rather than dumping it or selling it for below-market prices after the fact. WFU President Darin Von Ruden said he also commends the cooperative for asking all of their members to shoulder a little of the burden of managing over-supply.

Who is paying for defense of Des Moines Water Works lawsuit?

The Storm Lake Times | Posted on April 27, 2017

About $1 million in invoices were paid to Des Moines and Washington, DC, law firms until March, and the supervisors claim not to know who gave them the money. That’s stunning. The Agribusiness Association of Iowa organized a fund that paid those bills, but it reportedly refuses to tell the counties who the donors were. The supervisors believe that they cannot look a gift horse in the mouth to see who planted the bit. We have just learned that the supervisors, not AAI, severed their relationship in April because we wanted to know who those donors were.

2017 may be ‘tipping year’ in tightening farm economy

The Californian | Posted on April 27, 2017

No one is saying that farmers are headed for a repeat of the 1980s, when high interest rates, inflation and huge debt forced thousands of producers out of business. But the tougher agriculture market and weakened farm economy of the past few years is steadily taking its toll, and cracks are beginning to show.University of Minnesota Extension researchers reported recently that more than 30 percent of Minnesota crop and livestock producers lost money in 2016.

Syngenta Defends GMO Corn as Merger Shifts Blame to China

Bloomberg | Posted on April 27, 2017

The first of at least a half dozen trials began Monday in state court in Minneapolis, as farmers and grain handlers try to prove Syngenta rushed its Viptera genetically engineered corn, and then a second insect-resistant GMO seed, to market before obtaining import approval from China. The subsequent rejection of U.S. corn shipments ended up depressing corn prices for five years as China continued to buy from other countries, the farmers say. Syngenta denies any wrongdoing.

Federal News

Border security can take a heavy toll on endangered wildlife

PBS | Posted on April 27, 2017

In one study from 2011, biologists found border fences increased the risk of population decline and extinction, especially for endangered species. Another study from the same year found border security infrastructure could interfere with black bear breeding. Before the border fence between the U.S. and Mexico went up about 10 years ago, conservationists tried to stop it, but ultimately lost that fight. Eighty percent of Arizona’s border with Mexico has some kind of barrier. Gaps do occasionally exist where wildlife can pass, but finding those places isn’t easy.

Low Farm Prices Impacting Ag Economy– Will Executive Branch Trade Policy Help?

Illinois Farm Policy News | Posted on April 27, 2017

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue addressed USDA staff on Tuesday, after he was sworn into office. During his remarks, Sec. Perdue noted that, “One of the challenges that I heard as I visited with over 75 Senators was- we need to have a good trade policy, because our producers out there have been so productive, we have got a lot of stuff we need to sell.  And, we are going to sell it world-wide: Trade is going to be at the top of our agenda, as well as other things, but we have got to be good traders.

EPA Criticized in RFS Case

DTN | Posted on April 27, 2017

Attorneys representing the renewable fuels and petroleum industries argued in federal appeals court Monday on the role the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has in implementing the Renewable Fuel Standard.  In oral arguments before a three-judge panel of the U.S.

Senate confirms Perdue as agriculture secretary

The Washington Post | Posted on April 27, 2017

Former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue was confirmed Monday as secretary of the Agriculture Department, bringing into President Trump’s Cabinet an experienced politician with deep support among agricultural interests. Perdue faced few obstacles to confirmation — the vote Monday was 87 to 11 — after a collegial confirmation hearing last month before the Senate Agriculture Committee, where senators used their testimony time to raise questions about Trump’s budget. Support for Perdue extended far beyond Washington.

Trump slaps first tariffs on Canadian lumber

CNN | Posted on April 27, 2017

The Trump administration is hitting Canada with stiff tariffs of up to 24% on lumber shipped into the United States. These are the first tariffs imposed by President Trump, who during his election campaign threatened to use them on imports from both China and Mexico. The decision on Monday evening is bound to lead to a standoff and could stoke fears of a trade war between the U.S. and Canada, two of the world's largest trade powers. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the tariffs, or taxes, announced Monday evening were being imposed after trade talks on dairy products fell through.

Rural News

Antibiotic resistance in humans is a real problem, but causes less clear

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on April 27, 2017

The most recent CDC report on the growing problem of antibiotic resistant microbes was published in 2014, entitled Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the U.S., 2013. The study states, “Antimicrobial resistance is one of our most serious health threats. Infections from resistant bacteria are now too common, and some pathogens have even become resistant to multiple types or classes of antibiotics.

Is climate change responsible for record-setting extreme weather events?

Science Daily | Posted on April 27, 2017

After an unusually intense heat wave, downpour or drought, Noah Diffenbaugh and his research group inevitably receive phone calls and emails asking whether human-caused climate change played a role."The question is being asked by the general public and by people trying to make decisions about how to manage the risks of a changing climate," said Diffenbaugh, a professor of Earth system science at Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences.

Florida Keys says goodbye to flesh-eating screw flies

Miami Herald | Posted on April 27, 2017

About 190 million screw flies later, South Florida appears to be free of the flesh-eating pest that threatened to wipe out the planet’s last remaining herd of tiny Key deer. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will release its final sterile fly to combat an infestation confirmed in September, which marked the first outbreak in the continental U.S. in three decades.

4000 Snow Geese Deaths Due to Heavy Metals in Water in Montana Pit

Montana Standard | Posted on April 24, 2017

The estimated 3,000 to 4,000 snow geese that perished in December 2016 in the Berkeley Pit’s toxic water died of both heavy metals and sulfuric acid, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesperson Ryan Moehring. The necropsy report does not make the findings clear, stating only that lesions in the stomach, intestines, and throats were severe and “suggestive of chemical tissue damage induced by a corrosive substance.”Copper and zinc, both of which were found inside the birds’ stomachs, could have been the cause or a contributing factor in the lesions, according to the report.

McDonald's, fast-food chains find antibiotic-free beef, pork hard to deliver

Chicago Tribune | Posted on April 19, 2017

Consumers are demanding more antibiotic-free meat. At McDonald's, so is a group of nuns. The world's largest burger chain and its fast-food brethren have made commitments to remove antibiotics from chicken, but plans to curb the use of antibiotics in beef and pork have been far less common. It's a far more complex and expensive proposition, and fast-food chains are largely taking a wait-and-see approach before changing the way their burgers and bacon are made.

Energy News

Environmental Rules Played Minor Role in Coal’s Decline

Climate Central | Posted on April 27, 2017

Environmental and climate regulations that cut pollution from coal-fired power plants have played only a minor role in the decline of the coal industry, which has been hurt mainly by expanding use of natural gas and less demand for electricity, according to a Columbia University report published this week. U.S. coal use fell by about 30 percent between 2011 and 2016. The paper attributes about half of that decline to low natural gas prices, 26 percent to falling demand for electricity and 18 percent to growth in renewable energy such as wind and solar.

Oil and Gas Heavyweights Back a Roadmap for Steep Declines in Fossil Fuel Use

Green Tech Media | Posted on April 27, 2017

We've entered a topsy-turvy moment in energy where coal supporters want solar power and oil execs have endorsed cutting fossil fuel use.The latter appeared in a new decarbonization roadmap from the Energy Transitions Commission, an all-star working group charting the energy future that includes the chairman of Royal Dutch Shell, the head of sustainability at massive mining company BHP Billiton, the CEO of General Electric Oil and Gas, as well as leaders from prominent global banks, development organizations and climate-oriented NGOs.The terminology in "Better Energy, Greater Prosperity" wil

Chamber of Commerce: Northeast pipeline constraints are a $7.6B drag on GDP

Utility Dive | Posted on April 27, 2017

High gas and power prices in the Northeast are only going to get worse unless the region adds pipeline capacity, according to a new report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy.

California Senate committee clears bill for new energy storage rebate program

Utility Dive | Posted on April 27, 2017

A bill authorizing rebates for the installation of energy storage systems passed out of the California Senate's energy and utilities committee this week by a vote of 7-2 with two abstentions. It now goes to the full Senate for consideration. The bill, SB 700, would require utilities to collect funds from ratepayers to establish an Energy Storage Initiative (ESI) that would work in tandem with the state’s existing Self Generation Incentive Program and the California Solar Initiative. The ESI would be funded through 2027.

Thousands of businesses, groups lobby for defense of EPA Energy Star program

Utility Dive | Posted on April 27, 2017

More than 1,000 businesses and organizations have signed a letter urging Congress to defend and strengthen the Energy Star labeling initiative for efficient appliances that is maintained through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.The group, organized by the Alliance to Save Energy, says the program saves consumers more than $34 billion per year in reduced energy costs.

Food News

Feral hog slaughterhouse takes off in New Orleans

The Salt Lake Tribune | Posted on April 27, 2017

In a region that takes food seriously, feral hogs are despised as destructive, but their rich, dark meat is winning fans among Louisiana chefs. A small slaughterhouse is butchering the wild pigs , which cause the state $76 million-plus in annual damage, and selling sausage to grocery stores and meat to restaurants, where chefs are turning it into savory prosciutto, chorizo and meatballs."To me, it is the most interesting thing I have seen in years," said Rene Bajeux, executive chef for the Palace Cafe and three other Dickie Brennan & Co. restaurants in New Orleans.

The hot new trend in food is literal garbage

The Washington Post | Posted on April 19, 2017

Flour milled from discarded coffee fruit. Chips made from juice pulp. Vodka distilled from strawberries that nobody seems to want. At one point not so long ago, such waste-based products were novelties for the Whole Foods set. But in the past three years, there’s been an explosion in the number of start-ups making products from food waste, according to a new industry census by the nonprofit coalition ReFED.The report, which was released Tuesday and tracks a number of trends across the food-waste diversion industry, found that only 11 such companies existed in 2011.

Kerrygold Butter Maker Slaps Rival In Wisconsin with Trademark Lawsuit

Fortune | Posted on April 17, 2017

There's a butter war breaking out in America's dairy aisle. A lawsuit has surfaced after talks allegedly soured between Dublin-based co-operative Ornua, the owner of the popular Kerrygold brand, and Wisconsin-based Old World Creamery to develop an Irish-made butter that could be sold in Wisconsin.The case stems from a protectionist law in the state of Wisconsin that essentially bans all butters produced from outside of the United States. The decades-old law has required federal or state graders to sign off on butter brands sold within the state.

Dannon attacks ‘daisy-chained’ logic in all-natural lawsuit over GM feed and dairy products

Food Navigator  | Posted on April 17, 2017

Should brands making dairy products from cows that may have consumed GM feed be allowed to market their wares as ‘all natural’? Absolutely, insisted Dannon in court papers filed this week urging the judge to dismiss the “daisy-chained” logic of a false advertising lawsuit filed in New York.

Activist group sues Calif. schools for serving processed meats

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on April 14, 2017

A national physicians group filed a lawsuit Wednesday against two California school districts seeking to stop them from serving processed meats to students because of research linking the foods to colorectal cancer.   The nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine said serving foods such as hot dogs, pepperoni and luncheon meat violates California’s Education Code, which mandates school lunches be of the “highest quality” and “greatest nutritional value possible.”