14 DEC

Foster Farms donates 25,000 pounds of poultry for Ventura wildfire relief

California poultry producer Foster Farms will deliver more than 25,000 pounds of frozen poultry products to FOOD Share of Ventura County, a Feeding America Food Bank serving Ventura County. The donation will be distributed to local relief agencies and food pantries to provide more than 50,000 meals to families displaced by the Thomas fire in Ventura County.

“Community involvement has been a Foster Farms value since 1939,” said Foster Farms CEO Laura Flanagan. “As a California company, we feel a responsibility to step forward and support our fellow Californians in times of need and we hope others will respond in kind.” Read more

14 DEC

FDA report shows declines in animal antibiotic sales

A new report from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shows that for the first time since the agency began tracking antibiotic use on US farms, the amount of antibiotics sold domestically for use in food-producing animals has declined.

According to yesterday’s report, overall domestic sales and distribution of antibiotics approved for use in food-producing animals dropped by 10% from 2015 through 2016. That includes a 14% drop in the use of medically important antibiotics, and decreases in all individual drug classes.  Read more

14 DEC

EPA: Farms to spend $14.9 million to report manure emissions

U.S. farmers will spend an estimated $14.9 million a year reporting to federal emergency managers that livestock are releasing gas, the Environmental Protection Agency disclosed Monday.  The EPA also projected that the mandate, set to take effect Jan. 22, will apply to approximately 44,900 farms, though producer groups say they’re still sorting out which operations will have to report. “It’s going to be a challenge, to put it lightly,” said Jack Field, executive director of the Washington Cattle Feeders Association. The EPA included the figures in a notice due to be published Tuesday in the Federal Register. The new rule comes after a decade-long battle between the EPA and environmental groups over the scope of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, commonly known as the Superfund law.  Read more

14 DEC

Ancient DNA explains how chickens got to the Americas

On Thanksgiving, as many as 88% of American households put turkey, a bird native to North America that was first domesticated by the Mayans, on their table. But a small fraction of us choose to serve something else — most often, chicken. Although the chicken is incredibly popular in the U.S., with Americans eating close to 100 lbs per person per year, the origins of the bird and its importation to the New World are somewhat murky.  Read more

14 DEC

Assemblyman Adam Gray: Need real changes for water future

Now is the time to unite and plan California’s water infrastructure. That’s what Adam Gray told California Ag Today recently. Gray is the California State Assembly representing the 21st Assembly District, Merced and Stanislaus Counties. He said there is an urgent need for unification in regards to California’s water and the need for real changes to be made for future generations.

“It’s that famous quote, ‘Water’s for fighting. Whiskey’s for drinking.’ All we do is spend our time fighting, and we cannot continue to divide the pie. Read more

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