Skip to content Skip to navigation

Agriculture News

Sustainability could raise fish catches

WTOP | Posted on November 16, 2016

Fish catches in overfished European waters — stretching from the Arctic to the Black Sea — could increase by 57 percent if stocks were managed sustainably.   The Oceana environmental group says scientists believe catches of haddock, cod, herring and sardine in the Atlantic could increase by at least 300 percent. Group spokeswoman Maria Cornax said Tuesday there was “no excuse” not to start fishing sustainably.  “This is actually meant to help the fishery industry,” she said. “They can get increased profits.”  The European Commission, executive arm of the EU, has proposed maintaining or increasing the fishing quotas for 42 species which are rated in good health, and reduce catches for 28 stocks which are faring poorly. It said it based its suggestion on advisory bodies including the Copenhagen-based International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.  Oceana’s research, which it billed as “the most comprehensive overview so far,” was based on 397 stocks compared to around 150 monitored by the Commission.

Dairy promotion programs approved

Morning Ag Clips | Posted on November 16, 2016

 Dairy farmer leaders representing six northeastern states voted last week to approve the 2017 budget and program proposals for New England Dairy Promotion Board (NEDPB) and New England Dairy & Food Council(NEDFC). The action to approve the $5.5 million budget came at the annual meeting of the two companies that develop and carry out promotion, education and research programs in New England on behalf of dairy farmers.  Dairy farmers also heard from Carolyn Gibbs, CFO and Executive Vice President of Finance at Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) about the role dairy promotion organizations played in partnerships with McDonald’s and Domino’s. McDonald’s All Day Breakfast continues to drive incremental dairy sales as butter, cheese and milk in coffee are prominent ingredients on the breakfast menu, and breakfast foods are now part of 47% of total food orders. In September of 2015, McDonald’s also successfully transitioned from liquid margarine to butter in its 14,000+ U.S. restaurants. DMI will also partner with Yum! Brands, the parent company of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, to bring U.S. dairy into international markets. Through the new initiative, DMI will work with KFC and Pizza Hut on pilot programs that focused on increased cheese and butter use in the Asian Pacific, Latin American and Caribbean markets. “Cheese continues to drive sales with 5.5 billion pounds of incremental milk sold over the last 52 weeks,” said Gibbs. “Most of this is the result of the product development work with pizza chains like Domino’s and quick serve restaurants McDonald’s and Taco Bell.”


‘Frivolous’ lawsuit costs Oregon rancher $13,700, judge rules

Capital Press | Posted on November 16, 2016

An Oregon livestock producer must pay $13,700 to the Oregon Department of Agriculture for filing a “frivolous” lawsuit against the agency, a federal judge has ruled. U.S. Magistrate Judge John Acosta found that ODA is entitled to collect attorney fees from William Holdner, a rancher in Columbia County who filed a complaint claiming he’s not subject to state water quality regulations. Before his problems with water quality regulations began, Holdner raised about 500 cow-calf pairs on his property. Holdner was repeatedly cited by ODA for pollution violations on his property. He was found guilty of felony water pollution charges in 2012 and sentenced to five days in jail and $300,000 in penalties. In response, he claimed to be exempt from state and federal water regulations, arguing that ODA had abused its power in regulating his operation under the Clean Water Act

Dow-DuPont said to expect EU objections to merger next month

Bloomberg | Posted on November 16, 2016

Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. are expecting to get formal objections to their $60 billion merger from European Union regulators as soon as next month, listing potential antitrust concerns with their bid to form the world’s biggest chemical company, according to two people familiar with the investigation. The European Commission in Brussels is poised to send the complaint to the companies in December, according to people who asked not to be named because the process is confidential. It may lay out how the transaction could reduce competition in areas such as crop protection, seeds and certain petrochemicals. The merger is among a trio of pending deals -- including Bayer AG’s agreement to buy Monsanto Co. and China National Chemical Corp.’s agreement to buy Syngenta AG -- that could reshape the agricultural-chemicals industry. EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has warned that the deals could leave the sector "quite concentrated."

Illinois grain dealer's license revoked

Paxton Record | Posted on November 13, 2016

The Illinois Department of Agriculture has revoked the license of a financially troubled Ford County grain dealer. The license belonging to SGI Agri-Marketing LLC, a specialty grain dealer in Gibson City, was revoked Wednesday following an administrative hearing to address the suspension of the facility’s license after the Illinois Department of Agriculture discovered deficiencies in the company’s financial statements.  The company has been ordered to cease and desist doing further business. The Illinois Department of Agriculture has assumed control of the company, including its grain assets, and will begin the process of compensating claimants per the Illinois Grain Code.   Anyone who has sold grain to the company and has not paid in full should contact the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Warehouses to file a claim. 

Massachusetts farms impacted by new law to change animal confinement

WWLP | Posted on November 13, 2016

On Tuesday, Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly approved a new law banning farmers from restrictively confining hens, pigs, and calves; 78% of voters said ‘Yes.’ Diemand Farm was prepared for a yes vote and will change with the law. “We will have to work to accommodate the new requirement to enlarge the cages or go with a cage-free system entirely,” said Brian Bailey of Diemand Farm in Wendell. Bailey said they’ve kept their chickens in cages for efficiency and sanitary reasons, and to protect them from hurting each other. The bill doesn’t restrict chickens from being put in cages, but requires a minimum space for them to stand freely. Bailey said their cages were a couple inches short of the new standard. He added that he expects production of eggs to drop significantly because of the new law. It’s expected to go into effect in 2022.

These Colorado Veterans Are Finding Peace On The Farm

KUNC | Posted on November 13, 2016

Ben and Leticia Ward’s farm in Fountain, Colorado, just outside Colorado Springs, doesn’t look like an army base. But it’s not hard to uncover whiffs of military influence at Little Roman Farm.  A stack of sturdy fiberglass bins next to a greenhouse seem benign, ready to be put to use as brooding bins for chickens or an aquaponics system to grow veggies and fish at the same time. The bins once housed Joint Direct Attack Munition, or part of a system that controls “smart bombs.”  “It was purged courtesy of the U.S. Army,” Ben Ward says. “Thanks, U.S. Army. Now, it’s a fish tank.” The couple’s farm of hoop houses, small sheds and livestock pens is built on a foundation of decommissioned military gear, found materials and old barns. “It does give us a huge advantage because we can do things cheaper,” Leticia Ward says. “He doesn’t need to go buy something to do an aquaponic set up.”

Government of Canada helps Canadian Agricultural Industry Gain New Market Opportunities in China

Market Wired | Posted on November 13, 2016

The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, has concluded his second successful mission to China where he helped secure new export opportunities for Canadian agricultural producers and processors.  Over the 10-day mission, Minister MacAulay and a delegation of over 100 Canadian industry representatives from all 10 provinces visited the cities of Qingdao, Beijing and Shanghai. Meetings were held with Chinese ministers, agriculture and agri-food businesses and exporters. The Minister also attended two major tradeshows in Qingdao and Shanghai to help promote Canadian products.  As a result of the two tradeshows, Canadian industry representatives reported qualifying more than 5,500 leads,over 30 percent of which they believe will lead to future business. In terms of sales, industry representatives reported some $37 million in on-site sales and $230 million in anticipated sales over the next year.  In addition, as a result of various networking and promotional events where Minister MacAulay was key in encouraging business-to-business meetings, such as Export Cafés and Savour Canada events, Canadian industry also reported numerous on-site sales and leads that will generate business.

Post-election export picture is bleak: analysts

Meatingplace (registration required) | Posted on November 10, 2016

With Donald J. Trump as the president-elect, meat analysts and lobbyists are anticipating rough seas for exports, on which a growing number of meat processors depend to thrive or even survive.

Biotech advances show human health linked to animal welfare

The Hill | Posted on November 10, 2016

Animal biotechnology is a rapidly growing field due to the vast benefits it can bring to both human and animal health. For example, by carefully modifying the genome of livestock to provide disease resistance, we simultaneously improve animal health, welfare and food safety.  This practice reduces the use of antibiotics in livestock, helping to preserve an antibiotic’s clinical efficacy in humans. By using biotechnology to reduce disease in livestock, we lessen the likelihood of microbes infecting humans. Indeed, six out of every 10 infectious diseases found in humans are spread by animals. Scientists have genetically modified chickens so they do not transmit avian influenza virus to other chickens. This advance could prevent the spread of avian flu outbreaks within poultry flocks and has the potential to reduce the threat of a bird flu epidemic in the human population.  Maryland-based Intrexon has created genetically modified mosquitoes whose offspring cannot survive. When released into high-risk areas, they decrease the number of invasive mosquitoes that carry diseases such as Zika and dengue fever. Last year in Piracicaba, Brazil, the release of these “friendly mosquitos” in two neighborhoods reduced the disease-carrying mosquito population by 90 percent. As a result, the number of annual cases of dengue fever in that area dropped from 133 to just one.