Bayer CropScience has decided to drop any further attempts to challenge cancellation of its registration for the insecticide flubendiamide, which it had sold under the trade name Belt.
The governments of Canada and Manitoba will invest more than $366,000 in organic grain research at the University of Manitoba. This new initiative will be funded through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a five-year (2013-18) policy framework for Canada’s agricultural and agri-food sector. GF2 is a $3 billion dollar investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments and the foundation for government agricultural programs and services. GF2 programs focus on innovation, competitiveness and market development to ensure Canadian producers and processors have the tools and resources they need to continue to innovate and capitalize on emerging market opportunities.
Hundreds of thousands of U.S. farmers have been granted class action status for their lawsuits against seed company Syngenta over sales of biotech corn seeds not approved for import by China. A judge in the U.S. District Court of Kansas certified a nationwide class and statewide classes in Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota. At least 440,000 farmers sued after grain shipments containing traces of Syngenta’s Agrisure Viptera corn were rejected by China, which had not approved the variety for import before it was launched. The plaintiffs in the case did not plant the Viptera corn, but claim they suffered $5 billion to $7 billion in losses of current and future revenue when China’s rejections – beginning in November 2013 – disrupted trade and negatively affected corn prices.
Atrazine, simazine and propazine are currently under EPA registration review, which is required for all pesticides every 15 years to update and modernize the science and risk assessments. As part of the review process, on June 2, 2016 EPA released its draft ecological risk assessments, which drew conclusions based on a number of scientific errors and flawed interpretations. The future of some essential crop protection tools are at stake. It is important for our industry to weigh in with EPA to ensure they are following sound science and accurate data prior to making any final decisions. The agency needs to learn about the importance of these products to your customer's crop production. The comment period closes on October 5, 2016. The best science and data need to remain part of the EPA's registration review process. The agency's draft ecological risk assessment is inconsistent with a number of their previous conclusions and assessments by other regulartory agencies around the world. After review all public comments, EPA has indicated it will revise the ecological risk assessment, if necessary, and hold a Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) in 2017. Please take a few moments to submit personalized comments to EPA.
The U.S. farm economy weakened further in the third quarter despite an upward revision to farm income projections. Following a brief rebound in crop prices in the second quarter, profit margins for crop producers deteriorated in August and September. Profit margins also remained poor in the cattle and dairy sectors. Agricultural credit conditions have weakened further as loan repayment problems have picked up steadily, and bankers throughout the Tenth Federal Reserve District have expressed increasing concerns about the softening farm economy spilling over to Main Street business activity in rural areas.
The Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) announced on Sept. 19 that it will offer the first in a series of training courses to certify auditors to conduct the Common Swine Industry Audit (CSIA). The first two sessions are scheduled for Oct. 25-27 and Dec. 6-8 at the Univ. of Minnesota Southern Research Outreach center in Waseca, Minnesota. “The training represents an important opportunity for PAACO to help the pork industry respond to the high level of interest in training auditors and employees in the area of animal care and handling,” PAACO Vice Chair, Angela Baysinger, DVM, said.
For all the international furor over genetically modified food, or GMOs, the biotech industry has really only managed to put a few foreign genes into food crops. The first of these genes — actually, a small family of similar genes — came from a kind of bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt. Those genes make plants poisonous to certain insect pests. These genes are a pillar of the entire industry. But that pillar is wobbling. Three of the four Bt genes that are supposed to fend off one particularly important pest, the corn rootworm, are showing signs of failure. Corn rootworms have evolved resistance to them. But the biotech companies say not to worry. More genes are on the way. This week, a team of scientists from DuPont Pioneer announced in the journal Sciencethat they'd discovered a new rootworm-killing gene. They found it by searching through the countless bacteria that live in the soil, looking for one that is lethal to the corn rootworm. Many have carried out such searches and failed. The DuPont Pioneer team, however, succeeded. They first found a protein that killed rootworms, then worked backward to find the bacteria and the gene that produced that insecticidal protein. Then they inserted the gene into corn plants. As they'd hoped, it worked. The genetically modified corn plants killed rootworms.
Ground zero in the fight against Zika is now at the National Institutes of Health in suburban Washington. NIH scientists are testing a vaccine that could prevent people from acquiring the virus. Trials of a similar vaccine successfully immunized monkeys. Good news, right? Apparently not. Earlier this month, at another NIH facility just 3 miles away, a different group of scientists gathered to debate whether it's appropriate to conduct medical research — like the kind that's delivered this promising Zika vaccine — in primates at all. The NIH workshop on Sept. 7 convened experts in science, policy, ethics and animal welfare and was conducted, in part, in response to congressional interest in reviewing how research is conducted. That question shouldn't even need to be asked. Research in nonhuman primates has been essential to the development of cures for everything from polio to forms of cancer. And it's our best hope for cures for modern scourges like Zika, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
I was stunned to see the headline on ABC Eyewitness news website “Feds warn people to stop kissing chickens or they'll risk illness.” Silly me, I thought that would be obvious, but then today kissing pets seems to be a generally accepted behavior. And chickens are becoming a common pet and not just in the backyard. I follow an organization of people with backyard chickens and am continually amazed at the posts regarding the chickens in the family home. Last summer I read a blog which opened with a statement about how chickens don’t bite, bark or require walks and even offer eggs in return. The stories of chickens in the home are everywhere on the internet and probably in your neighborhood.
DuPont Pioneer and the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) announced that Pioneer will award $175,000 in grants to agriscience educators to fund training and classroom resources that will help them implement advanced agriculture curriculum. Grant recipients are teachers who are implementing Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) in their classrooms. CASE is a multi-year approach to agriscience education with rigorous educator training requirements and hands-on, inquiry focused learning activities. Teachers will use the grants to attend training, purchase equipment and materials, and conduct end-of-course assessments through CASE Online.