We’re now halfway through 2017, and this serves as a good reminder that the US Department of Agriculture is a tad late in submitting its annual report to Congress on the dairy and fluid milk promotion programs. Several years late, in fact. The Dairy Production Stabilization Act of 1983, which created the National Dairy Promotion and Research Program, requires USDA to submit an annual report to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees on the dairy promotion program. The enabling legislation for the Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Program, the Fluid Milk Promotion Act of 1990, also requires such a report.But the most recent report posted on the website of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (which has oversight responsibility for both dairy promotion programs as well as a number of other promotion and research programs covering everything from eggs and cotton to popcorn and softwood lumber) covers 2012 program activities. That’s practically ancient history.
Domino's Pizza, the recognized world leader in pizza delivery and digital ordering platforms, realizes that Cow Appreciation Week may exist only in the minds of those who truly love cheese as much as we do, and that's OK. Domino's love of cheese runs deep – it takes thousands of cows and dairy farmers to offer the variety of cheeses that Domino's does. And now, Domino's is celebrating its appreciation of cows and all things dairy by offering customers 50 percent off menu-priced pizzas when ordered online, beginning today and running through Sunday, July 16.
A judge has accepted a guilty plea in an investigation of illegal labor at dairies in Michigan’s Thumb region. Madeline Burke pleaded guilty to hiring people without verifying that they were eligible to work in the U.S. The government says the workers were in the U.S. illegally.Burke and her husband are natives of Ireland. They operate two dairies near the tip of the Thumb. Burke has agreed to pay a fine of $187,500, which adds up to $1,500 per illegal worker.
US dairy farmers tend to be conservatives, but many depend on immigrant workers to keep their operations running. Republicans' tough stance on immigration has created a political rift between some farmers and their representatives. This disconnect highlights the complicated place farmers hold in American politics.
A federal court denied a request from the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) seeking a rehearing following a recent ruling issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit requiring additional waste emissions reporting requirements for concentrated animal feeding operations. The court’s ruling rejected an exemption from reporting under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), two programs that are meant to inform the National Response Center and local first responders of hazards that may call for emergency action.
Farmers in Manitoba, Canada's third-largest pork producing province, are scrambling to contain a mysterious outbreak of a rapidly spreading virus that's deadly to piglets and threatens to harm their industry.There are 51 pork operations dealing with porcine epidemic diarrhea, up from about 40 at the end of last month, said Andrew Dickson, general manager of the Manitoba Pork Council."It caught us off-guard," Dickson said Monday. "We had a total of 10 cases in three years, so that's what's throwing us off for a loop ... What happened this year that we've suddenly got 50?" He said the virus has so far been contained to about a half-hour's drive radius surrounding Steinbach, southeast of Winnipeg, and farmers are doing what they can — including reviewing biosecurity measures, equipment and clothing — to stop it from spreading.
Seth Watkins has impressive Iowa agriculture bona fides: He’s a fourth-generation farmer. He raises 600 cows and tends 3,200 acres east of Clarinda in southwest Iowa. His grandmother, Jessie Field Shambaugh, founded 4-H. Yet some Iowans have called him “nuts” for sowing grass where he could plant more corn, he told the Register.Watkins has broken out of the two-crop cycle in which so many farmers are caught. He grows corn but also oats, alfalfa and cover crops. He grazes his cattle on pastureland, and about 400 acres of his land have been restored to prairie or set aside for ponds and protection of wildlife and streams. And he’s seen better financial returns as a result, he said, even if it comes at the cost of huge corn yields.“My job as farmer is not to produce; my job is to care for the land. And when I do this properly, this provides for all of us,” said Watkins.
In late June, Netflix debuted a new film by eclectic Korean director Bong Joon-Ho, “Okja.” The main story line is about a girl, the pig she raised (the “Okja” of the title), and how that pig is taken over and mistreated by corporate interests. Much of the story line, according to early reviews, is about how the girl vows to rescue Okja, with the help of animal activists.Being a satire, the characters are largely represented in extreme caricature — completely evil or positively saintly. And Okja bears no resemblance to an actual pig, being a hippo-sized, genetically modified version of a swine.Reviewers describe the plot as taking aim at a host of agribusiness interests, including Monsanto and GMOs, as well as the process of harvesting animals for meat.
Dow Chemical Co.'s proposed $74 billion merger with DuPont Co. has garnered another two important antitrust clearances and heads into July on track for an August closing date, the companies confirmed by email June 28. Mexico’s antitrust authority and Canada’s Competition Bureau both cleared the deal with conditions on June 27, meaning that all of North America has cleared the merger.The merger is one of a trio of mega-deals that would reshape the global agrochemicals industry and the second deal to approach the finish line. China National Chemical Corp. announced completion of its second $43 billion tender offer for Syngenta AG on June 7, acquiring about 95 percent of Syngenta’s shares.Bayer AG’s bid to buy Monsanto Co. for $66 billion is a distant third in the race to gain antitrust clearance, having not yet filed for review by the European Union.If cleared, the three transactions would consolidate the industry into four major players, including BASF SE. The same companies are also the world’s largest producers of seeds.
Farm groups are cautioning the Trump administration not to open a "Pandora's Box" by claiming restrictions on steel and aluminum are needed to protect "national security." Eighteen agricultural groups wrote to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on Tuesday, stressing that such a move would be a disaster for global trade, "and for U.S. agriculture in particular."The Trump administration is expected to decide any day whether to place tariffs on steel imports, stemming from an April investigation announced by the Commerce Department over whether those imports are harming U.S. national security. It's a rare argument for a major global power to make in a trade case.The farm groups wrote to Ross that it would be "a short-sighted mistake" to restrict imports based on national security claims. The farm groups called on Ross to consider the broader implications for the economy "and avoid igniting a trade war through new restrictions on steel or aluminum trade ..."Nick Giordano, vice president and council for global government affairs at the National Pork Producers Council, said farm groups recognize there is an overcapacity of steel and aluminum in the world. Farm groups and other industries are concerned, however, that the Trump administration's plan would boomerang against other exporting industries. Giordano also pointed out that roughly 25% of pork is exported, and in the case of a crop such as wheat, as much as 50% is exported.