24 OCT

Trump administration backs off efforts to ease ethanol mandates

Under pressure from the biofuel’s sector, the Trump administration has backed off its plan to ease the nation’s ethanol mandates. The decision, however, runs counter to the desires of the petroleum industry that has said that such compliance is expensive and questionable. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had been considering whether to alter the current requirements to blend ethanol and gasoline by allowing refiners to earn a waiver.  “After detailed analysis, numerous meetings with many stakeholders, and review of 18,000 comments received, the record demonstrates that granting that petition would not be appropriate,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wrote in a letter dated October 19.  Read more

24 OCT

California Farm Bureau president supports an immigration system that will allow people to move from south to north and then return home again when the work is done

During the last few months, we have certainly seen some unbelievable occurrences throughout the United States, from flooding in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico to wildfires throughout the West, capped by the rampant fires we have seen devastate our North Coast region and other parts of California. Farmers and ranchers have shown their resiliency by adapting to and recovering from challenges like these for years, and once again they will rise from the floodplains and from the ashes and build successful businesses. That’s just in their DNA and their make-up. Though farmers and ranchers have always had to deal with the unpredictable ravages of Mother Nature and other things beyond our control, some of the things that challenge agriculture are within our ability to influence. But to do that, we need to engage. The issues of overregulation, water supply and reliability, and water quality are just a few of the issues we have continued to work on during the 20 years I have served as a California Farm Bureau Federation officer.

One of the issues that often seems to be within our grasp, yet always comes up short, is the issue of immigration reform. We have frequently expressed to those in power in Washington, D.C., that our immigration system is broken and that no matter what pay rates our farms or ranches offer, U.S.-born employees will not perform the seasonal work that many California farms must offer. Not since 1986 has there been any congressional action on immigration reform, and it’s long overdue. Read more

24 OCT

Brazil’s JBS to resume operations at 7 plants in Brazil

Brazilian meatpacker JBS SA will resume operations on Tuesday at seven slaughterhouses in Mato Grosso do Sul state that had been shut since Wednesday following a court-ordered asset freeze, a media representative said on Saturday.

JBS, whose owners are ensnared in a broad corruption and insider trading investigation in Brazil, had decided to stop operations at the plants after a local court blocked it and controlling holding company J&F from having access to about 730 million reais ($228.68 million) due to allegations of tax irregularities in the state.

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24 OCT

Senate approves FY2018 budget resolution

The Senate approved the FY2018 budget resolution by a 51-49 vote Thursday night. Such an approval sets up a widely expected tax reform bill over the next few months.In order to pass such a tax bill, both chambers of Congress will need to agree on a joint budget resolution for the 2018 fiscal year. A House GOP source told The Hill that the procedural language in the Senate resolution “seems sufficient to avoid a conference committee between the two chambers, and allow the House to simply pass the Senate resolution.” Budget resolutions are nonbinding and don’t require the president’s signature. They are separate from the spending bills that actually fund the government. However, such a resolution, agreed to by both chambers, is necessary in allowing the Senate to pass a tax bill with just 51 votes instead of the 60 often needed for major legislation due to a special Senatorial procedure known as reconciliation. Such a procedure would also disallow a filibuster. The then-Senate-approved bill would move to a House vote, which contains a larger Republican majority. If passed, it would then require President Trump’s signature before becoming law.  Read more

23 OCT

NCC praises USDA’s withdrawal of controversial ‘GIPSA Rules’ on competitive injury, unfair practices and undue preferences

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today it is withdrawing the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration’s (GIPSA) interim final rule on competitive injury, and its proposed rule on unfair practices and undue preferences.  After a 180-day extension of the comment period, the interim final rule was scheduled to go into effect on October 19. “I want to thank Secretary Perdue for USDA’s thorough and meaningful review of these controversial rules that would have opened the floodgates to frivolous and costly litigation,” said NCC President Mike Brown.  “It is clear the administration took into account the thousands of comments it received and recognized these rules would have come with deep economic consequences for American poultry and livestock producers.” Read more

23 OCT

Perdue Farms donates $20,000 and 43,000 pounds of food products to support California wildfires relief

Perdue Farms is responding at the corporate and local level to support relief efforts in Northern California as deadly wildfires continue to devastate communities around its Petaluma Poultry operations. Perdue, through its charitable giving arm The Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, has earmarked $20,000 to support recovery efforts of the American Red Cross of California’s Northwest in the Sonoma County region where many of the company’s associates live and work.

Perdue has shipped a truckload with more than 43,000 pounds of food products as part of its partnership with Feeding America to Redwood Empire Food Bank in Santa Rosa. Perdue’s Petaluma Poultry is also deploying its food truck into the community to help feed victims, volunteers and first responders. Read more

23 OCT

Cheap eggs are ruining the cage-free movement

The great American egg glut keeps claiming victims, among them millions of hens that won’t be moving anytime soon into lodgings spacious enough for what they lay to be called “cage free.” This was supposed to be a golden-goose designation, after the likes of McDonald’s Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. pledged to switch to eggs from birds able to actually spread their wings. Farmers stepped up to provide cage-free products, but buyers haven’t materialized in the anticipated droves, or anything close. “It’s been bad,” said Marcus Rust, chief executive officer of Seymour, Indiana-based Rose Acre Farms Inc., the second-largest U.S. egg producer. It spent $250 million over four years to upgrade conditions; today about 20 percent of its hens are cage free. And now, Rust said, “we are shutting our construction program down.”

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23 OCT

Protecting your flock during fall migration

We know you’ve heard it before: seasonal migratory patterns bring an increased risk of disease-carrying birds interacting with commercial or backyard poultry. But the health and safety of our U.S. poultry flock is important enough to make it worth repeating. Birds, particularly waterfowl like ducks and geese, can carry avian influenza without showing any symptoms or signs of disease. Because the risk of introduction never goes away, having strong biosecurity practices on poultry operations can help prevent the spread of infectious disease before it starts. The 2014-2015 U.S. Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak is never far from my mind. It forced us to reevaluate our preparedness and response capabilities, from a federal, state, and industry standpoint. Today, we are all better prepared to handle and quickly respond to avian influenza detections. Read more

18 OCT

Cal Fire credited with saving 40,000 Willie Bird turkeys from Sonoma County fires

It’s been a week of fires and roadblocks and worrying about the potential loss of 40,000 turkeys for brothers Willie and Riley Benedetti.

First came the fire that roared toward Calistoga Road last Sunday night. Only a stand by Cal Fire on the western side of the road kept the flames from jumping over and onto the Benedettis’ 400-acre ranch northeast of Santa Rosa and turning Willie Bird Turkeys into Willie Bird Roasted Turkeys. Then came the daily struggle to get 16 tons of feed through roadblocks meant to keep everyone out except firefighting personnel. “Cal Fire saved these turkeys early last Monday morning.” Willie, 68, said Sunday afternoon. Not wanting to risk it again, he and his brother started evacuating the birds. Read more