14 DEC

USDA leaves no stone unturned to expand trade

USDA is putting a new emphasis on expanding agricultural trade with foreign countries and growing exports, with a goal by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to have his new undersecretary for trade be a member of the “million mile” club.

With visits to four countries in the last six weeks, Undersecretary Ted McKinney said he’s well on the way.  Read more

14 DEC

Campylobacter in poultry: An elusive pathogen

Campylobacter – primarily Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli – frequently colonize the intestinal tract of domestic poultry at high levels. The bacterium is well adapted to the avian host and, despite extensive colonization, it produces little or no overt disease in poultry. That makes it difficult to detect and control in live birds.

Despite its insignificance for poultry health, Campylobacter is a leading cause of foodborne gastroenteritis in humans worldwide. In the US, it’s responsible for over 800,000 cases of foodborne illnesses and over 8,000 hospitalizations each year. [1] The poultry reservoir, especially broiler meat, is the most commonly recognized source for human Campylobacter. Read more

14 DEC

34 House Republicans press GOP leader on immigration

A group of 34 House Republicans on Tuesday asked Speaker Paul Ryan to act this month on legislation dealing with the 800,000 young immigrants brought to the United States as children and living here illegally.

Ryan has said he does not see a need to act before March, the deadline President Donald Trump gave Congress to find a permanent solution after he suspended the temporary protections against deportation granted by the Obama administration. The GOP lawmakers, in a letter to Ryan, pressed for quick action. Read more

05 DEC

Have NAFTA talks reached a breaking point?

As efforts re-negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) continue, the U.S. team continues to push a hardline stance that the governments of Canada and Mexico aren’t going to accept. Right now it seems like very little progress is being made. On November 29 Mexico’s Minister of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo exited a meeting with Trump’s team in Washington with a negative outlook. “I was clear that the domestic content [proposal] is something that is not viable at this point,” Guajardo said.  Read more

05 DEC

USDA lawyers feel under siege

The Trump administration’s nominee for USDA general counsel, Stephen Vaden, is enforcing workplace changes that have led to unusually contentious labor negotiations, several attorneys from across the country told Pro Ag’s Catherine Boudreau. Vaden is serving as principal deputy general counsel while he awaits confirmation, but his lack of management experience and his past work defending state voter ID laws are also raising concerns, lawyers say. Read more

05 DEC

Purdue to play Arizona in 2017 Foster Farms Bowl

Purdue will play Arizona in the 2017 Foster Farms Bowl, Brett McMurphy reports. The game, which pits a team from the Big Ten against a team from the Pac-12, will take place on Dec. 27, 2017 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

The Boilermakers enter the game after a 6-6 regular season, which doubled their win total from 2016 in Jeff Brohm’s first season taking over for Darrell Hazell. Arizona finished 7-5 under head coach Rich Rodriguez, and was powered by a surprising star turn from QB Khalil Tate.  Read more

04 DEC

EPA releases ’18 ethanol volumes at maximum levels; chicken producers cry foul

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that it is mandating the statutory maximum 15 billion gallons of ethanol be added to the domestic fuel supply in 2018, the second consecutive year EPA has mandated the maximum amount of ethanol allowed under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  The currently mandated volume for 2017 is also 15 billion gallons; with only weeks left in 2017, the Energy Information Agency (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy is forecasting the total domestic use of ethanol for the year to be just 14.4 billion gallons.  Read more

04 DEC

Annual bird migration on radar of poultry farmers

Migration season represents a cause for concern among poultry farmers, said Dr. Craig Coufal, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service poultry specialist in College Station, Texas. Coufal said the threat of avian influenza is heightened due to annual migrations by wild bird species, particularly waterfowl. “It’s that time of year,” he said. “You’ve got large numbers of ducks and geese that have been commingling and interacting in the North, and there is real concern about those migratory birds coming into contact with domestic birds via vectors such as humans, droppings, an airborne contaminant or direct contact. People need to be vigilant about keeping migratory birds away from their domestic birds.”  Read more

04 DEC

USDA: Farm economy on the upswing, but not for everyone

The farm economy is showing some stability, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says, but the upswing doesn’t extend to all agricultural sectors.

Over the last three years, farm earnings have plummeted, eliciting concerns that the farm economy could tumble toward another farm crisis like the 1980s. For 2017, the USDA expects net farm income to rebound by a modest 3 percent nationwide, to $63 billion.  Read more