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Agriculture News

Commentary: Why Science Does Not Matter Anymore and Why That is a Problem for Agriculture

Hoosier Ag Today | Posted on August 2, 2018

oday, everybody is an expert on science and can pronounce judgement on scientific research and advancement. In our world that judgement carries just as much weight as stacks of peer reviewed, research results. Take, for example, the decision on the safety of glyphosate that is being decided in a California courtroom not a laboratory. Alex Berezow, noted science writer, said scientific credentials that used to mean something no longer count in the court of public opinion, “In 2018, we live in a thoroughly postmodernist society. In a world in which we can no longer distinguish truth from lies and science itself has been redefined, non-scientists can claim to be scientists. And I’m the Queen of England.”This is a serious concern for agriculture where much of our current production technology and more of our future advancements are rooted in science. During a recent Corteva media field day I attended, all the talk was about science. These people took science seriously, and were investing hundreds of millions of dollars into research to increase food production safely and sustainably. It will be difficult, however, to get public acceptance of this science in our current anti-science world.

Opinion: Trumps $12 billion PR stunt

Daily Yonder | Posted on August 2, 2018

Despite strong continued support for President Trump in rural America, farmers fear they will bear the brunt of the retaliatory tariffs from the president’s trade war.  Farm country can ill afford it: In February, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted 2018 crop profits would hit a 12-year low. Dairy farmers’ prices have fallen 30% in two years, while pork producers have seen a price drop of roughly $20 per head. Overall farm incomes are down nearly 50% from 2013. Long before the trade war began, I and many other farmers feared we were in a farm crisis as bad as that of the 1980s. Now we know it will be even worse. we have a new $12 billion emergency aid package for farmers to ease the sting of the tariffs, clearly designed to keep his rural base firmly behind him. But will it actually solve farmers’ problems? I doubt it. Twelve billion dollars is a lot of money, but spread across all the major agricultural commodities, it will be a drop in the bucket. Details on how the money will be dispersed are still hazy, but I suspect most of it will not find its way into the pockets of struggling farmers. 

AFIA applauds passage of bill to improve process for new animal drug approval

AFIA | Posted on August 2, 2018

he American Feed Industry Association commends Congress for sending a bill to the president this week for signature - the Animal Drug and Animal Generic Drug User Fee Amendments of 2018 (H.R. 5554). This bipartisan legislation will continue providing the necessary resources to support the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine with completing more expeditious reviews of new animal drugs and improving FDA’s review and approval process for animal food ingredients.

What the animal rights activists don’t say: Research saves animals

West Fargo Pioneer | Posted on August 2, 2018

The Forum recently published several stories on an animal rights activist group filing complaints about the deaths of several North Dakota State University research animals. The group is against animals, agriculture and all animal research. I don’t want to give an animal rights group anymore headlines but the role and value of NDSU research and animal agriculture needs to be highlighted.Regardless of your connection to agriculture, you should care about this issue and value land-grant universities and their research. Why? Agriculture drives our economy. You might not live on a farm or know a farmer, but your community and its businesses are connected to American agriculture. The research saves livestock.  From what I have read, adverse conditions contributed to the deaths of the animals that died at NDSU. The caretakers and researchers didn’t want a lamb to suffocate from a hay bale toppling on it or a horse to try to jump a corral panel rather than walk through an open gate. But adverse and negative experiences happen to all of us, including those who care for animals. No matter your connection to agriculture or where you live, stand up for agriculture. The industry needs your positive voice. 

Producers and animal health officials take another crack at a standardized national cattle ID system.

Beef | Posted on August 2, 2018

Developing a national standardized system, though, one capable of tracing cattle back to current and previous locations of residence within 48 hours — to track and manage animal disease — has proven to be only slightly harder than hobbling a tornado. The industry embarked on the journey almost two decades ago, working with state and federal governments, as well as tribal nations. In fact, so many years and discussions passed, and so many federal efforts shifted over time, that it’s easy to forget the mandatory foundation for such a system — the Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) program — became law in 2013.

Tariffs taking toll on dairy markets

Capital Press | Posted on August 2, 2018

ilk production has slowed in the U.S., but retaliatory tariffs by China and Mexico are weighing heavily on dairy prices. Milk production in June grew 1.2 percent year over year. Normally if exports hold up, that amount of growth would be bullish for prices, Bob Cropp, dairy economist with the University of Wisconsin, said in the latest Dairy Situation and Outlook podcast.

Why antibiotics still work for Sanderson and the importance of story

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on August 2, 2018

While many major poultry companies are moving away from antibiotics use in their chickens, Sanderson Farms has taken a stand on continuing their use, and that strategy is working well. Sanderson Farms President Lampkin Butts told attendees at the Chicken Marketing Summit here the company continues to expand production, including a new plant now under construction that will open next year. The reason for Sanderson’s success, he notes, is that most consumers are focused on taste, food safety and price. Also, the company can find no research that ties the type of antibiotics use the company practices (prevention and treatment, not for growth promotion) to antibiotics resistance in humans.

Bioproducts industry using waste plastics for fuels, sneakers and algae based packaging

Biofuels Digest | Posted on August 2, 2018

The pace of invention and change is just too strong, we’ve realized, to highlight annual or even quarterly or monthly rankings and summaries of significant product and service advances. some examples 1)  Adidas to use only recycled plastic by 2024 2) Bolt Threads Launches Biobased Knife from bioengineered spide silk. 3) Neste, a global leading producer of renewable diesel, is now exploring ways to introduce liquefied waste plastic as a future raw material for fossil refining. 4) JUST, a plant-based egg and clean meat company, announced a distribution deal with Eurovo to bring Just Egg to consumers across Europe. Just Egg, made from the mung bean, cooks and tastes like conventional chicken eggs and is currently launching nationally in the United States. 5)  Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a plant-based composite material for 3D printing. Using waste lignin from biofuel manufacturing and rubber, carbon fiber, and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, ORNL has developed a material with 100% improved weld strength between layers compared to ABS alone. 6)  a 100% biobased and biodegradable grill originally developed in Denmark has officially launched in the US market.
The one-time-use grill, dubbed CasusGrill, is made from cardboard, bamboo, and lava stone. It disintegrates on its own or can be burned in a campfire after use. 7)  A consortium is trialing the use of seaweed sachets for fast food condiments. 8) In Georgia, researchers have created a flexible plastic alternative for food packaging using crab shells and cellulose. 

Dairy labeling and added sugar labeling for maple make the omnibus spending bill

Politico | Posted on August 2, 2018

Dairy labeling makes a cameo appearance: When debating the so-called minibus, H.R. 6147, on Wednesday, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) offered an amendment that, in effect, would block FDA's planned effort to crack down on having the term "milk" used to market plant-based alternatives like soy and almond beverages. The proposal was handily defeated 14-86, Jen and Kaitlyn write. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said during the POLITICO Pro Summit last month that the agency will soon issue a guidance document outlining changes to its "standards-of-identity" for labeling milk. The National Milk Producers Federation, which lobbied against Lee's amendment, said in a statement that the Senate's rejection should send the message to food manufacturers that their days of "inappropriately" using dairy terms on products that don't contain dairy are numbered. The organization argues such labeling is misleading to consumers, but advocates of plant-based food contend the dairy sector hasn't offered any credible evidence to support that assertion. Defending maple: The agricultural appropriations bill would also block FDA from requiring maple syrup and honey to bear an "added sugars" label under the Nutrition Facts panel update. Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King touted that they secured the provision in order to make sure consumers aren't misled into thinking that pure maple syrup or honey contains artificial sweeteners like corn syrup.

U.S. Share of World Economic Growth: Implications for U.S. Trade Policy

Farm Doc Daily | Posted on August 2, 2018

Between 1980 and 1985, the U.S. accounted for 24.6% of world economic growth. Since then, 2 distinct periods emerge, with the millennium being the break point. Until 2000, U.S. share fluctuated around a very slight downtrend. U.S. share of world economic growth was still 24.1% from 1995 to 2000. Since 2000, U.S. share has dropped at an annual rate of around -0.7 percentage point per year. U.S. share was 12.6% of world growth between 2012 and 2017. A common measure of a country’s economic size is its gross domestic product, but arguably a more important measure is its contribution to world economic growth.Economics has clearly established that free trade increases economic growth. However, free trade also produces losers, specifically firms and their workers who do not have competitive advantage.Economics has clearly established that a factor, such as freer trade, which spurs economic growth leads to even more growth. While less than the initial growth, the additional growth can be notable.As the U.S. role in world economic growth has shrunk, its share of freer trade’s additional growth has shrunk. This dynamic has changed the math of the U.S. position on freer trade.When the U.S. share of world economic growth was larger, it could consider whether it might take a smaller initial share of the benefits of freer trade since it was a major beneficiary of the additional world growth. Since its share of additional growth is now smaller, the U.S. is likely to focus more on capturing a larger share of the initial benefits of freer trade.