07 AUG

NAFTA ‘benefits both sides,’ says MacAulay

Farmers and producers in the western states see the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as providing benefits to both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, says Canada’s minister of agriculture and agri-food.  Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay was in Portland and Oregon recently to promote the importance of the bilateral trade relationship between the Canadian and the U.S. agriculture sectors.
During an interview with The Guardian, MacAulay said he saw support for NAFTA from both sides of the border.  “‘Be careful with how you fix something that’s not broken.’ That’s a fair thing to say, and I’ve heard it a number of times,” said MacAulay. “They understand quite well how it’s benefited the agricultural sectors.”
Read more

02 AUG

In California’s poultry plants, refugees fill the vacuum left after President Bush’s immigration raid

Taiseer Al Souki spends most days on his feet at a Foster Farms poultry plant, hefting table-sized plastic brown boxes and feeding them into a machine that cleans them.

He plugs his ears to soften the deafening clang of heavy machinery as he cycles through the same motion for hours on end. At night, after slumping to sleep in exhaustion, the 44-year-old Syrian refugee dreams that he’s at the plant, still hoisting box after box filled with chicken destined for dinner tables across America.

Al Souki does not complain. He fled war-torn Syria and worked backbreaking 12-hour shifts in his home country and Jordan before making his way to the United States. He is grateful for the $10.50 an hour he collects at the poultry plant.

“I like work. I need work,” he said in the smattering of English he has picked up. “Without work, not a man.”  Read more

02 AUG

USDA announces 40 grants for agricultural research

The US Dept. of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 40 grants totaling more than $15.7 million for agricultural research on the production of beef, dairy, poultry, pork, and fish that people consume. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.  Read more

27 JUL

Central Valley legislators protect ag industry through cap and trade

Modesto Bee Opinion
by Bill Mattos, President California Poultry Federaion 
It’s no secret that California isn’t the easiest place to operate a business. However, very few laws have the power to single-handedly threaten poultry and other food processing operations. Yet that’s exactly what we were facing due to a law passed last year that requires California to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions dramatically by 2030. Poultry companies were facing one of the biggest threats in our history that could have decimated us and the Central Valley’s entire agriculture industry.
Read more


27 JUL

Poultry veterinarians need to be “the voice of the birds”

Veterinarians need to be more proactive and be the “voice of the birds” on issues related to health and well-being, according to Nancy Reimers, DVM, a poultry veterinarian in California and chair of the Animal Welfare Committee, American Association of Avian Pathologists (AAAP).  Decisions about whether to treat isn’t a new ethical issue for veterinary medicine. The topic of treating with antibiotics, however, has come to the forefront due to changes in marketing and in regulatory requirements, she told Poultry Health TodayRead more

27 JUL

US poultry producers praise Senate’s call reopening chicken and turkey exports to China

Today, 37 Senators led by Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) finalized a bi-partisan and nationwide letter to USDA supporting NTF and its members as we push to re-open the Chinese market to U.S. poultry exports. This letter is a product of NTF’s Turkey Trade Fly-In and the Leadership Conference, with great advocacy work by our industry in visits with your elected officials. We appreciate you all joining us in DC and for all of the hard work in making this letter as successful as possible. Please take a few minutes and review to see if your Senator signed the letter and be sure to thank them for their leadership. We feel confident that a strong letter like this will help move the process forward. Let’s hope for positive news in opening the Chinese market again soon. Read more

24 JUL

Valley Ford turkey king sues Marin County, Coastal Commission over ‘forced farming’ law

Free-range turkey pioneer Willie Benedetti doesn’t want to work forever.
Instead of raising fat birds for Thanksgiving tables, the 68-year-old farmer hopes someday to be playing with grandchildren in a house he’d like to build for one of his sons on his 267-acre ranch near Valley Ford. But he said that’s not possible because of a new Marin County law meant to preserve agricultural lands that would force him to keep farming if he constructs the new dwelling. Now, he’s teaming up with a conservative legal action group that wages high-profile property rights cases, challenging the mandate in a lawsuit against the county and the California Coastal Commission, accusing them of coercion and violating his constitutional rights. “What they are doing is not right,” said the owner of nationally known Willie Bird Turkeys, whose family has owned the land near the Estero Americano just south of the Sonoma County line since 1972. “To put pressure on the farming community. It’s ludicrous.” Read more