20 JUL

US chicken consumption remains at all-time high

U.S. consumers report their chicken consumption remains high although 2017 levels have moderated and returned to those seen a couple of years ago, according to new research presented today at the 2017 Chicken Marketing Summit.

Recalling behavior during the two weeks leading up to the survey, 84% of consumers said they ate a chicken meal or snack purchased from a supermarket and 67% ate a chicken meal or snack from a food service establishment. Both supermarket and food service establishment consumption numbers decreased, 3.4% and 6.9% respectively, and are now at parity with those seen in 2015.
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects Americans will eat close to 92 pounds of chicken per person this year, breaking last year’s record of 91 pounds,” said NCC Senior Vice President of Communications Tom Super.  “Although consumers’ self-reported consumption is down slightly in the survey, the data show that chicken is still top of mind for consumers.”   Read more


20 JUL

Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council launches teacher awareness program

Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (MSR&PC) partnered with U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) to launch a Teacher Awareness Program that allows urban teachers and students to learn about modern agriculture first-hand. The program aims to increase awareness about innovation in today’s agricultural industry, through topics including sustainability, crop biotechnology, animal health and welfare. The engaging and interactive approach to the program is designed to provide teachers with real world insights and understanding of how their food is grown and raised – (teachers can sign-up at the link). Read more

19 JUL

Out with the Old, in with the New-ish in USDA’s No. 2 Post

The Al Almanza decade as USDA’s most important figure in food safety is ending, and Stephen Censky is coming in as deputy secretary to help Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue run the department.

Almanza, deputy under secretary for food safety and administrator of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), is retiring from government effective July 31. Censky is stepping down as chief executive of the American Soybean Association to take the post at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Almanza’s actual departure will come on a day he chooses, while Censky must go through the Senate confirmation process. There are about 1,200 positions in the federal government that require Senate confirmation. Thirteen of those are USDA jobs, including the deputy secretary and the secretary of agriculture.

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19 JUL

APHIS Provides Strategic Direction to Detect and Respond to Emerging Animal Diseases

The purpose of this plan is to provide strategic direction for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Veterinary Services (VS) to detect and respond to emerging animal diseases and define the processes by which VS will identify, evaluate, and respond to emerging diseases in animal populations. Rapid detection and response to emerging diseases are critical to animal agriculture because these diseases can threaten the livelihood of producers and limit their access to important markets. Rapid and effective response can also prevent or limit negative impacts on animal health, the economy, food security, and public health. In 2014, the framework for this plan was outlined in the APHIS concept paper, “VS Proposed Framework for Response to Emerging Animal Diseases in the United States.” Read more

13 JUL

EPA sets 2018 ethanol volumes at statutory maximum

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday proposed once again to keep the mandated volume for conventional ethanol use for 2018 at the statutory maximum of 15 billion gallons. In proposing this level, EPA has breached the 10-percent blend wall and will continue to subsidize the over production of ethanol, far in excess of the statutory maximum, which will divert corn from America’s food and feed use to foreign energy markets. Read more

13 JUL

House ag appropriations bill approved by committee

The House Appropriations Committee June 28 approved the fiscal year 2018 Agriculture Appropriations bill. The legislation funds important agricultural and food programs and services, including food and medical product safety, animal and plant health programs, rural development and farm services, agricultural trade, financial marketplace oversight and nutrition programs. The bill totals $20 billion in discretionary funding, which is $876 million lower than the fiscal year 2017 enacted level, but $4.64 billion above President Donald Trump’s budget request. The legislation prioritizes this funding in programs for rural communities, farmers, ranchers, food and drug safety, and nutrition for those in need. In addition, the bill contains several policy provisions to rein in unnecessary and burdensome regulations that harm U.S. food producers and that impede growth in important U.S. industries.  Read more

13 JUL

Mexico is no longer No. 1 U.S. corn-buyer after trade tensions

Mexico is no longer the biggest buyer of corn from the U.S.,  a sign that trade tensions are pushing American grain toward other markets while its southern neighbor lines up new suppliers. Sales to Mexico through May were $1.04 billion, down 6.7 percent from a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday in a monthly update. That contrasts with the 32 percent increase for the overall value of U.S. corn exports in the period, during which the average dollar value of the commodity was little changed. Japan boosted its purchases 53 percent to $1.19 billion to become the largest importer of American corn.  Read more