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Five Myths Surrounding the Veterinary Feed Directive

Pork Network | Posted on January 22, 2017

While it is true change can be a good thing, it rarely occurs without a learning curve. Not surprisingly, then, that is the case with the Veterinary Feed Directive after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently tightened the federal rule.

As of Jan. 1, producers must obtain an authorization or prescription to purchase medically important antibiotics and administer them to food animals through feed and drinking water. Medically important antibiotics are medicines critical to treating human diseases.

Ireland confirms atypical BSE in cow

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on January 22, 2017

Ireland’s agriculture department confirmed Wednesday the discovery of a case of atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy in an 18-year-old cow.  The finding derived from the department’s surveillance of rendering facilities processing animals that died on farm, officials said. The animal tested positive on a screening test and follow-up tests confirmed the result.

FDA wants to regulate gene edited animals

FDA | Posted on January 22, 2017

FDA is issuing this draft revised Guidance for Industry to clarify its approach to the regulation of intentionally altered genomic DNA in animals. This guidance addresses animals whose genomes have been intentionally altered using modern molecular technologies, which may include random or targeted DNA sequence changes including nucleotide insertions, substitutions, or deletions, or other technologies that introduce specific changes to the genome of the animal. 1,2,3 This guidance applies to the intentionally altered genomic DNA in both the founder animal in which the initial alteration event occurred and the entire subsequent lineage of animals that contains the genomic alteration. More recently, new technologies have emerged that are intended to alter the genomes of various organisms, including animals. Some of these include the use of “nucleases” or “genome editing technologies” including engineered nuclease/nucleotide complexes such as zinc finger nucleases (ZFN), transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs), and the clustered regulatory interspersed short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) associated systems. 8 These nucleases are intended to introduce alterations at specific sites in the genome, rather than the more random changes associated with rDNA technology. The process of producing these targeted DNA sequence alterations is often referred to as “genome editing.” We anticipate that other technologies intended to alter genomic DNA will arise over time.

Organic livestock handling rule goes into effect

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on January 19, 2017

New rules regarding humane handling of organic livestock will go into effect Thursday, Jan. 19, when they are published in the Federal Register.  Last week, the final rule, which amends the Organic Food Production Act of 1990, was cleared by the federal Office of Management and Budget, where it had languished since last summer. The imminent implementation of the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule drew praise from animal protection and rights groups and was met with criticism from meat industry associations. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) “commends” the move, calling it an “historic move” and “the first comprehensive set of regulations governing the on-farm treatment of animals ever issued by the federal government.”  In a news release, NPPC said the regulations will “dictate how organic producers must raise livestock and poultry, including during transport and slaughter … without scientific justification.” Some of the requirements, such as outdoor access, could even put some livestock at risk for contracting certain diseases. USDA is accepting public comments on the rule until Feb. 21, but it goes into effect as soon as it’s published in the Register tomorrow, in accord with to federal procedures.

Tom Vilsack to Take Helm of U.S. Dairy Export Council

US Dairy Export Council | Posted on January 19, 2017

The U.S. Dairy Export Council announced that former U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will join the organization as president and CEO, effective Feb. 1, 2017. USDEC is a non-profit, independent organization that seeks to enhance the global demand for U.S. dairy products and ingredients.  - See more at:

Donald Trump Taps Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as Secretary of Agriculture

NBC | Posted on January 19, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to lead the Department of Agriculture, senior transition officials tell NBC News.  Perdue served on Trump's agricultural advisory committee during his presidential campaign. orn and raised in Georgia, the 70-year-old veterinarian served as a state senator for 10 years beginning in 1991. In 2003, he became Georgia's first Republican governor since Reconstruction.  Perdue was reelected in 2006 — an accomplishment that provides the nominee a sense of familiarity that might make for an easier confirmation process compared to what could be in store for some of Trump's more politically inexperienced cabinet picks. Like Trump in the 2016 election, Perdue won his first gubernatorial bid thanks in large part to disillusioned white voters.Upset that Georgia's legislature had stripped the state flag of its large Confederate battle cross in 2001, rural whites the next year overwhelmingly flocked to Perdue, who had promised a referendum on bringing the emblem back. Georgia voters in 2004 ended up choosing a design resembling the national "Stars and Bars" flag of the Confederacy over the more infamous battle cross.'

EPA Releases Four Neonicotinoid Risk Assessments for Public Comment

EPA | Posted on January 19, 2017

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has published preliminary pollinator-only risk assessments for the neonicotinoid insecticides clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran and also an update to its preliminary risk assessment for imidacloprid, which we published in January 2016. The updated imidacloprid assessment looks at potential risks to aquatic species, and identifies some risks for aquatic insects.   The assessments for clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran, similar to the preliminary pollinator assessment for imidacloprid showed: most approved uses do not pose significant risks to bee colonies. However, spray applications to a few crops, such as cucumbers, berries, and cotton, may pose risks to bees that come in direct contact with residue. In its preliminary pollinator-only analysis for clothianidin and thiamethoxam, the EPA has proposed a new method for accounting for pesticide exposure that may occur through pollen and nectar.

COOL provisions changed to add venison meat

Feedstuffs | Posted on January 19, 2017

Once finalized, retailers and suppliers would be required to keep records and provide their customers with notification of the country of origin of muscle cuts and ground venison they sell. The Agricultural Act of 2014 (farm bill) directed AMS to add muscle cuts of venison and ground venison to the list of covered commodities subject to mandatory COOL requirements. Once finalized, retailers and suppliers would be required to keep records and provide their customers with notification of the country of origin of muscle cuts and ground venison they sell. Individuals that supply venison would be required to establish and maintain country-of-origin information for venison and supply this information to retailers. Producers, handlers, manufacturers, wholesalers, importers and retailers of venison would be affected.

Trump's Last Vacant Cabinet Post

The Atlantic | Posted on January 17, 2017

Three days before Donald Trump is to be inaugurated as America’s new president, just one Cabinet agency lacks a nominee to lead it: the Department of Agriculture.

The pick has become mired in politics and drama, unsettling the agriculture industry and potentially imperiling Trump’s standing with some of his most ardent supporters—the residents of rural America. In the process, it has become a case study in the difficulty Trump will face as he begins to govern, as his sweeping promises and catchy slogans run up against competing interests.

Already, the delay in picking an agriculture secretary has caused alarm. “The lack of quick and decisive action on picking a new Secretary of Agriculture by the Trump administration has given rise to charges that agriculture is not a high priority for the incoming president,” columnist Gary Truitt wrote recently in Hoosier Ag Today. “While this may or may not be true, the fact that this was the last cabinet post to be filled has raised concerns and will produce some challenges for the new nominee.”

U.S. dairy groups urge Trump to set his sights on Canadian dairy policies | Posted on January 17, 2017

U.S. dairy groups are calling on Donald Trump to set his sights on Canada's "protectionist" dairy practices as he seeks to safeguard American jobs. The International Dairy Foods Association, National Milk Producers Federation and U.S. Dairy Export Council, along with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture say a planned national Canadian ingredients strategy will block U.S. exports in violation of NAFTA and the World Trade Organization. Ontario milk pricing policies adopted last April are hurting U.S. exports of ultra-filtered milk used to make dairy products, costing thousands of American jobs especially in border states like Wisconsin and New York, said a letter sent Wednesday to the incoming president and his trade nominees.