Conventional thinking surrounding animal welfare suggests creating an environment more similar to the nature leads to happier birds and better performance. But are the environmental enrichments and changes currently used in the broiler industry really helping? hepard said he was optimistic about the use of engagements at Wayne Farms. Ninety percent of what the company does in the name of animal welfare – including the engagements – comes back in the form of profits. The other 10 percent, he said, is done because it’s the right thing for the bird. In 2017, Wayne Farms started raising some birds under the welfare standards established by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) welfare rating system. In September 2017, it launched a line of products – Naked Truth – rated GAP Step 2, meaning the birds live in an enriched environment. GAP’s highest rank, of six in total, is Step 5+, where the birds spend their entire lives on the farm and are raised in an animal-centered and pastured environment.
HSUS’s front group, Arizonans for Wildlife, quietly put out a statement that it is suspending its campaign this year to place a measure on the ballot in Arizona to ban hunting of predators such as mountain lions. The measure likely would have faced significant opposition from professional wildlife biologists. Hunting is an important tool for managing wildlife populations, and HSUS doesn’t offer any realistic alternative to managed hunting. (HSUS has suggested the use of birth control darts to control wildlife populations—a highly expensive and unrealistic proposition.) A similar situation played out in Maine in 2014 when HSUS attempted to restrict the hunting of bears via the ballot. Wildlife biologists spoke out against HSUS’s measure, and despite HSUS pouring in millions of dollars, good wildlife management defeated HSUS by a 6-point margin.
With the expectation that new water quality rules are coming to Ohio’s large rivers, the Ohio EPA is holding informational meetings to discuss the indicators of polluted rivers, and potential targets for nutrient loading. In March, the Ohio EPA released a draft report of the state’s latest list of impaired water bodies, which included the western basin of the open waters of Lake Erie. The state has battled water quality concerns over the past decade related to harmful algal blooms in the lake, and nutrient overloading in its rivers.
Each year, farmers in the US purchase tens of millions of pounds of antibiotics approved for use in cows, pigs, fowl and other livestock. When the animals' manure is repurposed as fertilizer or bedding, traces of the medicines leach into the environment, raising concerns about how agriculture contributes to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. New research holds troublesome insights with regard to the scope of this problem.
Included in the draft farm bill presented by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) last week were several provisions that would reverse decades of precedent, and usher American agriculture into a new era of unlimited farm subsidies for the nation’s largest mega-farms. As part of its ongoing analysis of the Chairman’s draft bill, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition reviewed these provisions and found that they would promote land and economic consolidation, with the primary beneficiaries being the largest, wealthiest farm operations.Though limitations adopted in the final 2014 Farm Bill were far from game changing, they did make at least some effort to level the playing field for family farmers and reduce abusive subsidy schemes used to circumvent the law. The Conaway proposal makes a complete 180° turn from these reform efforts, and effectively ensures that payment limitations will never actually apply to anyone who cares to avoid them.
The time has come that our friends in Oklahoma are in need of assistance. Ag Community Relief will have a semi and an enclosed trailer leaving Wednesday, April 18th to deliver goods. If anyone has even just a couple round bales to help fill the semi or fencing and feed materials to fill the enclosed trailer please contact Eddie Fahley (810) 304-4651 or Matt Schaller (810) 614-0968.
Pennsylvania’s Agricultural Land Preservation Board has safeguarded 27 farms throughout the state, State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced. Three of the 27 farms are in Lancaster County while two others reside in Lebanon and York counties.
Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a national cooperative owned by family farmers, broke ground this week for the construction of a new retail store, The Creamery, in Beaver, Utah, which will replace the existing cheese store currently on the site of DFA’s Beaver City processing plant. Slated for opening in late 2018, the new 11,250 sq. ft. store will be more than four times the size of the original cheese store and will feature expanded retail space, greater product selection and an interactive, educational experience about dairy for visitors.
Indiana farmers must choose between ignoring Massachusetts’ regulations or complying with them to sell product in that state.Curtis Hill, Attorney General for Indiana, is requesting the United States Supreme Court block the implementation of the Massachusetts’ Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act (Animal Law).The Republican Indiana official on March 16, 2018, filed a Reply Brief in the Supreme Court to support an original Bill of Complaint. He argues “The Supreme Court shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction of all controversies between two or more states.”
The makeover at Bayer continues as the company attempts to purchase Monsanto. This time the German-based firm was granted concessions on proposed spinoffs. Bayer announced Wednesday that the European Commission has approved two modifications to its original approval of the takeover bid. Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Justice was reported to have given its nod to the deal, conditional on the sale of further assets to gain antitrust approvals.The company now will sell some of its own seed-treatment assets to BASF, rather than the original plan to divest Monsanto's NemaStrike, a broad- spectrum nematicide.