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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. The added negative price pressure for picnics and hams could result in industry losses of $425 million for July-Dec.2018 and $835 million over the next year.”

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. agriculture, because China has been the United States’ top agricultural export market outside of North America since 2009 with an annual sale of nearly $20 billion in 2017 (USDA, 2018b). In 2017, top U.S. agricultural exports to China included soybeans, cotton, hides and skins for leather products, fish, dairy, sorghum, wheat, nuts and pork (USDA, 2018a). Noting the theory of comparative advantage and that China has one-fifth of the world’s population—four times that of the United States—but only one-tenth of the world’s arable land, China primarily exports labor-intensive manufactured products to the United States (e.g., electronics), and the United States primarily exports land-intensive agricultural commodities to China (e.g., soybeans). While the United States has a large trade deficit with China, it has a trade surplus in agricultural products.

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. In conjunction with the expansion, the waste water treatment facility on the Agropur campus is also being upgraded to keep up, but the plans still call for discharging up to two million gallons of waste water a day into the nearby Big Sioux River watershed.

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. However, drivers hauling non-livestock ag commodities, such as produce, feed and fertilizer, must begin using an ELD by June 19, the date that enforcers will begin issuing citations and out-of-service orders for non-compliance, according to the FMCSA. Drivers who haul agricultural commodities within a "150-air mile radius of the farmer's farm or ranch," are exempt from hours of service regulations

HSUS Pays Twice What it Receives in Fundraising

Humane Watch | Posted on June 13, 2018

We recently wrote about the bizarre tale of HSUS fundraiser Loop NYC, which appears to raise money by soliciting random strangers on the New York subway system. For anyone who’s ever been on the system, this has to be one of the dumbest strategies: People want to avoid other people on the New York subway, not give them their credit card info. One thing that caught our eye was the claim from the marketing firm that for every dollar a solicitor raised for HSUS, he received two. This is what one might call “fuzzy math.” Here’s how it works—and why it’s terrible for charities to do.A charity, in this case HSUS, pays a solicitor money to attempt to raise funds. In some cases, the payment may be more than a solicitor actually raises (if the solicitor charges by the hour or by the call, for instance). Some veterans charities have been called out for operating in this way, whereby they raise millions but the solicitor keeps close to 100% of what’s raised and the veterans see next to nothing. (Or, in HSUS’s case, homeless animals see next to nothing.)The charities defend this practice by saying they are essentially prospecting—they’re paying for a fund raiser to build a mailing list of donors that the charity can then reach out to, on its own, years down the line. But this fact is not made clear to donors, who think their money is being used now for charity—not put into the pockets of a fundraiser.

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.

Trudeau Takes Heat From Dairy Farmers for Opening Door to Trump

Bloomberg | Posted on June 13, 2018

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under fire from farmers at home for saying he’s flexible on increasing access to the country’s dairy industry, a change sought by Donald Trump in Nafta talks. Trudeau said Sunday in a U.S. television interview the U.S. was seeking two main things in Nafta negotiations, which are essentially on the back-burner after the U.S. hit Canada and Mexico with steel and aluminum tariffs last week.

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.

40 animal activists arrested at California farm

Capital Press | Posted on June 13, 2018

Authorities have arrested 40 animal rights activists who entered a Northern California organic egg farm to document alleged cruel conditions and rescue chickens. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office says the trespassing arrests were made Tuesday in Petaluma after several hundred people gathered at Sunrise Farms. Those detained were to be cited and released.