Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Vilsack names meat and poultry inspection committee members

Canadian government pledges funds to battle pig, bovine diseases

  • Andrea Gantz
    The Canadian government is pledging funds to battle Brachyspira hampsonii, which affects feeding and growth rates in pigs.
    From WATTAgNet:
    The Canadian government has pledged an investment of $260,000 to the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board (Sask Pork) to help control two diseases that are threatening swine and beef herds in Canada.
    The allocation will help fund research that will target Brachyspira hampsonii, a recently discovered bacterium that causes diarrhea and colitis in pigs. Scientists will also seek to gain a better understanding of bovine genital campylobacteriosis (BCG) or “vibriosis” that can significantly reduce pregnancy rates among breeding cattle. Both studies will include diagnostics, surveillance and trials involving live animals.
    Brachyspira hampsonii was recently discovered in Western Canada and is known to affect feeding and growth rates in pigs.
    A recent outbreak of BCG in a Saskatchewan beef herd reduced pregnancy rates by 16 to 62 per cent. Sask Pork will have input from the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association and the research will be conducted by a team of scientists at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine.
    This investment is made through the Industry-led Research and Development stream of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriInnovation Program, a five-year, up to $698-million program.
    “Our government recognizes the importance of the swine and beef sectors to the Canadian economy. This investment will help enhance the competitiveness of both these industries by expanding diagnostic and control tools available to producers,” said Brad Trost, member of parliament.
    Brachyspira hampsonii is an emerging swine disease in western Canada which needs to be better understood and controlled because it is very hard to eliminate from a herd when infected. BCG also has the potential to seriously reduce the calf crop in the important western cattle herd, so we welcome the AgriInnovation Program funding to develop products to control these serious threats,” said Florian Possberg, Sask Pork chairman.

BRF, Indofood forming joint venture company in Indonesia

Hendrix-ISA acquiring Midwest Farms LLC, Pennovo

Koch Foods plant returns to production after ammonia leak

    Emergency crews responded to an ammonia leak on December 19 at a Koch Foods plant in Gainesville, Georgia.
    From WATTAgNet:
    A Koch Foods poultry plant in Gainesville, Georgia, was evacuated during the afternoon of December 19 because of an ammonia leak at the plant.
    Three people were directly exposed to the ammonia, but nobody was injured. The three workers that were exposed were treated at the scene and did not require hospitalization.
    The plant had been undergoing renovations, according to Gainesville Fire Department Division Chief Kevin Smith, and a worker had apparently accidentally cut an ammonia line at the plant. The accident occurred around 1:30 p.m.
    "Our personnel along with the hazmat team - that we work together with Hall County - entered the building and did find initially high readings of ammonia in the building," said Smith.
    According to Smith, it took about an hour before the air in the plant was clear enough for people to return to work. Plant operations resumed at that point.
    The December 19 leak marked the second time in just a little more than six months that Koch Foods had to deal with an ammonia leak in Gainesville. On June 9, the company experienced another leak, when the plant was evacuated and 14 workers had reported exposure to the ammonia. Four were treated at an area hospital.

Avian influenza spreads into Oregon

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

VIV Asia Road Shows spreading the word about the event

    VIV Asia, which will be held March 11-13, 2015, in Bangkok, will feature the animal production and meat processing industry’s developments.
    The feed-to-meat concept brings together supply and demand within the complete animal protein chain, with the idea that animal feed and animal health are vital for meat quality and safety.
    The conference will feature sessions on health issues; extended shelf life of food products; meat safety; ways to improve yield, quality, hygiene, traceability, portioning, performance, profitability, efficiency and transparency; and the trend toward systems that cover the entire food chain from primary production to finished products.

    Road Shows

    Road Shows have started to visit several Asian countries to carry the message that VIV Asia will be bigger than ever in 2015. Special events, features and themes added to the exhibition will serve the needs of dedicated target groups. The Road Shows have traveled to Indonesia, South Korea, Myanmar, Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Bangladesh. In February, Road Shows will visit countries from the North Africa/Middle East region.

    Pork production

    The VIV Asia experience will be very strong in its connections to the production and processing of poultry meat and eggs. However, an extra feature in March will be the introduction of a special theme of pork production, in support of invitations sent especially to the top pig producers in the Asian region. Several of the leading international suppliers of pig equipment have signed up to exhibit for the first time.
    “In total, our forecast for visitor numbers is that there will over 35,000 animal protein professionals and associated buyers from Asia, Africa and the Middle East,” says VIV Asia exhibition manager Ruwan Berculo. “In fact we think we will have people from every continent because the show has grown into such a big international event. Today, it can claim to serve almost all of the world’s most promising markets for animal proteins, at a time when Thailand is ready to play a major part in driving the food supplies of the new ASEAN trade zone.

    Chinese language program

    To cater for Chinese-speaking visitors, Mandarin has been added to the list of official languages for the show alongside a special program of activities in this language. The addition in 2015 of a special Chinese-language program recognizes the growth expected in the number of visitors from China. More visitors also are expected to come from Indonesia, Vietnam and Bangladesh.

FEFANA released booklet on carotenoids

Agrifirm, ForFarmers to combine purchase, knowledge of products

US federal budget includes $45 million for poultry lab

    The newest federal budget includes $45 million for the Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory in Athens, Georgia.
    From WATTAgNet:
    The latest federal budget includes $45 million in funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory (SEPRL) in Athens, Georgia.
    The money is part of the $155 million plan that will eventually be needed to modernize the facility, which includes the addition of 100,000 square feet of space.
    According to the USDA, a review was done of the Agricultural Research Service facilities in 2012 that highlighted facilities with aging infrastructure and identified the SEPRL as the highest priority recommended for modernization. The laboratory has facilities that were built in 1964 and 1976, and those facility's limitations now prevent critical, cutting-edge research from being conducted.
    Construction of a new facility would allow USDA scientists to more adequately address emerging or exotic poultry diseases that threaten not only the nation's poultry industry, but the health of American consumers, the agency said at the time.
    The poultry laboratory has conducted research over the past 20 years on exotic poultry diseases and has the only USDA program that provides research support to the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration on diseases like avian influenza, Newcastle disease and West Nile Virus, according to the USDA.

Fournier Foods New Hampshire poultry plant approved by board

  • Martin Walls
    A proposed Fournier Foods poultry processing plant in Concord, New Hampshire, has been approved by the city's planning board.
    From WATTAgNet:
    The Concord Planning Board approved a poultry processing plant in East Concord, New Hampshire. The vote clears the way for Fournier Foods to build a 5,500-square-foot plant for slaughtering and packaging chickens.
    The company will now finalize a purchase-and-sales agreement for the 20 acres where the plant will be located. Construction is expected to begin next year.
    More than 30 people attended the planning board’s meeting, but no public comments were heard. The plant has had its share of opponents, with some neighbors concerned about potential odors and other environmental issues.
    Fournier Foods agreed to several conditions upon approval – among them, waste from the slaughtering process cannot be deposited in on-site dumpsters, and a plant employee will be present during pickups to clean up any spills immediately. The company has also agreed to keep a current operations and maintenance plan on file with the city, and the plant will be the sole user of its sewer, water and storm drain lines, reported the Concord Monitor.
    Owned by Craig Fournier and Omar Khudari, the company presently operates a mobile unit that travels to process poultry at farms across New Hampshire. However, because that mobile unit is not required to be inspected by the USDA, poultry producers are not allowed to send Fournier Foods more than 1,000 birds per year or sell those processed birds to commercial buyers.
    The plant in East Concord, however, would be certified organic and USDA inspected. In its new location, the Fournier Foods will be able to process 2,000 birds per eight-hour shift, or 6,000 birds in up to three shifts. The company, which currently has seven part-time and seasonal employees, said it will staff 23 people for each shift.

HKScan sells Estonian egg business

Monday, December 29, 2014

China approval gives Syngenta incentive to settle lawsuits

    China’s approval for imports of Syngenta Viptera corn increases the likelihood that the company will settle lawsuits.
    From WATTAgNet:
    China’s approval for imports of Syngenta Viptera corn increases the likelihood that the company will pay settlements to more than 100 farmers and exporters, including Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland, who are suing Syngenta for damages resulting from China’s rejections of shipments of U.S. corn, according to a Reuters report.
    Lawyers for Syngenta told Reuters that the decision by China’s Ministry of Agriculture to approve the corn ends uncertainty about the MIR 162 strain’s status and gives the company new price references to calculate potential losses from the rejections.
    China’s approval of MIR 162 gives Syngenta an incentive to settle the lawsuits because the end of the unapproved status makes it easier to calculate potential damages, Syngenta’s lawyers say. However, Syngenta has previously said the lawsuits are without merit and that it has not put aside funds to cover any potential claims.
    During the past year, U.S. corn exports to China have been halted, as more than 1.2 million metric tons of U.S. crop shipments have been rejected due to the co-mingling of the unapproved corn strain.
    Cargill, ADM and dozens of farmers have sued Syngenta, claiming hundreds of millions of dollars in 

Farm groups eyeing increased commodity trade with Cuba

    Farm groups say the recent move by Obama could could advance export opportunities for corn, wheat and soy.
    From WATTAgNet:
    Farm groups, including the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USWA) applaud President Barack Obama’s announcement that the U.S. will begin discussions to renew diplomatic relations with Cuba.
    The groups say the move by the U.S government could advance export opportunities for agricultural commodities like soy, wheat and corn.
    Cuba is the largest wheat market in the Caribbean, with the potential to import at least 500,000 metric tons of wheat from the U.S. each year.
    "U.S. wheat farmers are excited about the prospect of exporting more wheat to Cuba," says NAWG President Paul Penner. "NAWG has long supported strengthened trade relations with Cuba and see this as a historic step in that direction."
    USWA President Alan Tracy noted that the U.S. market share in Cuba could grow from its current level of zero to around 80-90 percent, as it is in other Caribbean nations.
    The U.S. has allowed ag exports to Cuba since 2001, but financing restrictions have limited the competition of U.S. products.
    American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman said Obama’s latest move could ease those restrictions.
    "The president's opening to Cuba promises to improve trade conditions by making it easier for Cuba to buy U.S. agricultural and food products," he said. 

Walmart to adopt enhanced food safety measures for poultry

  • Photo courtesy of Walmart
    Walmart and Sam's Club will implement enhanced food safety measures for its suppliers in an effort to curb foodborne illnesses.
    From WATTAgNet:
    Walmart will begin implementing enhanced poultry safety measures for suppliers designed to further protect customers against foodborne illnesses. The new guidelines are in addition to Walmart's food safety program that requires poultry suppliers to achieve prevention-based certification against one of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) internationally recognized standards.
    “At Walmart and Sam's Club, we are committed to providing our customers with safe, quality foods,” said vice president for food safety, Frank Yiannas. “As part of our continuous improvement process, we determined it was important to require additional layers of protection for our customers.”
    The new program requires Walmart and Sam's Club U.S. poultry suppliers to implement holistic controls from farm to fork designed to significantly reduce potential contamination levels, including chicken parts. It also requires suppliers to undergo specialized testing to validate that the measures they have implemented are effective. All poultry suppliers must be in compliance with the new requirements by June 2016.
    The enhanced protocol has been reviewed with numerous stakeholders including consumer groups, regulators, academicians, poultry suppliers and industry associations.
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has partnered with Walmart on this initiative to advance food safety and decrease foodborne illnesses among consumers.
    Dr. Chris Braden, director of CDC's Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases said, “CDC, along with Walmart, recognizes that reducing Salmonella and other pathogen contamination in poultry products is a crucial step towards decreasing the burden of foodborne illnesses. Walmart and CDC working together to protect public health and advance food safety is a great example of a public-private partnership that benefits everyone.”
    Dr. Gary R. Acuff, director of the Texas A&M Center for Food Safety applauded the company's work: “Walmart's implementation of enhanced safety measures for poultry products provides leadership for the food industry and continues a progressive approach to providing the safest possible food. This is a smart, science-supported move that will greatly benefit consumers.”

H5N1 avian influenza outbreak occurs in India

Sanderson Farms net income more than doubles during Q4

Clemens Food Group building pork processing plant in Michigan

Friday, December 26, 2014

Senate approves Section 179 deduction on farm machinery

    The U.S. Senate has approved a package of tax breaks, including a deduction on farm machinery.
    From WATTAgNet:
    The U.S. Senate, on December 16, voted to approve HR 5771, a $42 billion package of tax breaks, including the Section 179 deduction on business equipment and farm machinery.
    However, the bill expires at year-end, but farmers can take advantage of the deductions on purchases made in 2014 if delivery is taken before year-end. The bill is retroactive through all of 2014 for purchases made until December 31.
    The bill now goes to the White House, where President Barack Obama is expected to sign it within days.
    “Today’s passage of the tax extenders bill is a welcome relief to farmers as we close our books on 2014," said Wade Cowan, president of the American Soybean Association. "While it's not the long-term fix we need, the legislation does include the dollar-per-gallon biodiesel tax credit, expensing for farm equipment and infrastructure under Section 179, and bonus depreciation on farm assets, all of which provide greater certainty and a more stable climate for the farmers and producers who make use of these programs.”
    The passage of Section 179 is expected to push farmers and livestock producers who were undecided about buying new equipment in 2014 to go ahead with the purchases. Farmers looking to take advantage of the deduction are urged to apply for the financing immediately to make the year-end deadline.

African swine fever found in Belarus

Nutriquest opens Ran Research Center for swine studies

2 Sisters Food Group’s supplier relationships attacked by BBC

USDA: Avian influenza cases confirmed in US

Study examines avian influenza’s path into Europe

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Avian influenza outbreak occurs at Italy turkey holding

Poultry groups: OSHA attacks on safety record perplexing

North Carolina pork exports to Japan continue to climb

  • Andrea Gantz
    Pork has become North Carolina's most rapidly growing export product shipped to Japan.
    From WATTAgNet:
    Japanese demand for U.S. pork has helped make pork the fastest growing export product from the state of North Carolina.
    The value of pork shipped from North Carolina to Japan has grown nearly ten-fold since the beginning of the 21st century. According to a report from the Raleigh News & Observer, the value of pork shipped from North Carolina to Japan was below $30 million annually, but it now exceeds $250 million. In the process, pork has outgrown tobacco as North Carolina’s leading export product to the Japanese market.
    The increased demand for pork from the United States is a reflection of the quality of the product. In the minds of the Japanese customer, the pork that is raised in North Carolina has a specific taste, flavor and color that the people of Japan desire.
    “Japanese consumers are very finicky, very rich and they demand quality,” said Dermot J. Hayes, a pork economy expert and a professor at Iowa State University. “So the people who export to Japan—they export a very high-value product. And that returns a lot of money.”
    Japan is expected to purchase an estimated $2 billion worth of pork from the U.S. this year.

Syngenta lawsuits consolidated in Kansas court

    Lawsuits over Syngenta’s Viptera corn have been consolidated as a multidistrict litigation.
    From WATTAgNet:
    Lawsuits over Syngenta’s Viptera corn have been consolidated in United States District Court in Kansas as a multidistrict litigation.
    In the lawsuits, agricultural companies claim they have sustained economic losses as a result of the presence of the genetic trait MIR162 in the U.S. corn supply.
    “Corn farmers, grain elevator operators and corn exporters have all suffered significant economic damages as a result of Syngenta’s release, promotion and commercialization of a certain genetically engineered corn trait – MIR162 – into the United States corn production system,” the lawsuits say. China has not yet approved MIR162 corn seeds including Viptera and Duracade.
    According to official court documents, agricultural entities that have filed Syngenta corn lawsuits say the company allegedly made false claims in order to convince farmers to plant the genetically modified seed known as Agrisure Viptera prior to China’s approval of the product. Specifically, the company launched a “Plant with Confidence campaign”, according to court documents. Aimed at domestic corn farmers, the marketing campaign allegedly assured farmers that China’s decision to approve the corn was imminent, and that Viptera corn seed could be safely planted side by side with other seed, according to court documents.

British Columbia scrambles to meet Christmas turkey demand

Dinosaur to bird evolution study offers new research tool

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Patent issued for ‘peanut brittle’ for ruminants

    A patent has been issued for a “peanut brittle” developed at Kansas State University.
    From WATTAgNet:
    A patent has been issued for a “peanut brittle” developed at Kansas State University that ensures cows and other livestock get the vitamins intended for them in their feed.
    U.S. Patent No. 8,828,421, "Method for Encapsulation of Orally Ingested Materials to Alter the Site of Digestion, Site of Action, or Stability," was recently issued to the Kansas State University Research Foundation, a nonprofit corporation responsible for managing technology transfer activities at the university.
    Faculty at Kansas State University developed a candy-like coating that protects vitamins and other micronutrients given to cattle and other ruminant animals from being prematurely digested by bacteria in the animal's digestive system. The coating provides an easy, inexpensive method for delivering undiluted dosages of vitamins, amino acids and other nutrients to livestock.
    "In ruminant animals … we often feed rations to the animal with the hope of providing nutrients directly to it, but we always have to contend with the pesky microorganisms in the digestive system," said Jim Drouillard, professor of animal sciences and industry. "Those microorganisms and bacteria also feed on these nutrients as they move through the animal, potentially causing deficiencies of key nutrients for the animal itself.”
    The patent currently is licensed to Afgrifeed, a South African animal feed manufacturing company.

Virginia Tech helped hatch modern turkey industry