A task force of scientists for the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) issued a report Monday examining the facts and providing science-based research to clarify the “feed vs. food” issue.
To some, animal agriculture is bad. Those folks mistakenly believe that animal agriculture takes away human food supplies and wastes resources.
In this CAST Issue Paper, scientific experts address the knowledge gap that exists as to the quantity of human food and fiber by-products used within animal agriculture....More
A number of inaccurate media reports surfaced after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released an Aug. 22 report, “U.S. GAO - Food Safety: More Disclosure and Data Needed to Clarify Impact of Changes to Poultry and Hog Inspections.”
The GAO report details findings about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS) new inspection procedures that have been piloted in poultry and swine slaughter plants since 1998....More
The proposed transaction between Shuanghui International Holdings Limited and Smithfield Foods, Inc. has received clearance from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). Smithfield and Shuanghui International also announced that the parties have received governmental merger clearance in Ukraine....More
Today’s research review of beta agonists in Taking Stock by the American Society of Animal Scientists (www.asas.org)
reiterates that the growth promotants used in cattle and swine production, are safe to use for food production. A former USA official believes beta agonists can help improve global food security.
When animals consume feed, they partition the extra energy into fat cells. When cattle and swine are given beta agonists, they partition the extra energy into muscle instead of fat....More
A group of eight meat and livestock groups led by the American Meat Institute (AMI) have filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to block implementation of a mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rule finalized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in May 2013....More
A bipartisan group of senators including Sen. Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and Sen. Thad Cochran, ranking member of the committee, raised questions Wednesday regarding government oversight of the proposed purchase of Smithfield Foods and future foreign acquisitions of American agriculture companies....More
The Huffington Post headline this week screamed frighteningly at consumers about the topic of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), “Damning New Study Demonstrates Harm to Animals Raised on GMO Feed.” Reuters also sought to raise alarm with this headline, “Scientists Say New Study Shows Pigs Hurt by GMO Feed.” Both stories were referencing a recent study in which pigs were fed genetically modified corn and soybeans. The outcome of the study, published in a somewhat obscure Australian publication called the Journal of Organic Systems, is up for debate. Because National Hog Farmer has a long-standing tradition of bringing our readers research-based information, we were a bit skeptical about the way the research was designed....More
The House Appropriations Committee Thursday approved the fiscal year 2014 Agriculture Appropriations bill, which will now head to the House floor for consideration. The proposed legislation funds important agricultural and food programs and services, including food safety, animal and plant health programs, rural development and farm services, marketplace oversight and nutrition programs....More
The 2012 corn crop delivered many of the problems that were foreseen throughout last year’s growing season. Decreased yields, variable quality and mycotoxins have affected livestock production throughout North America. However, this crop may still be causing trouble as we dig deeper into the storage bins....More
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), who has led efforts in Congress to keep agricultural markets competitive for market participants and consumers, has released a statement regarding the announcement that Smithfield Foods would be purchased by Shuanghui International. The deal needs to be reviewed by the Department of Justice and the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS)....More
The bad rule that became worse is now final. That is the most succinct way I know to describe the final mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rule that USDA announced on Friday. The final rule contains no substantive changes from the proposed rule issued in March. It will require all covered products to specify where each production step (birth, raising and slaughter) takes place. That applies even to product from animals that spend their entire lives in the United States. There will be no “product of the U.S.A.” label for covered meats....More
The United States was required to come into compliance by May 23 with its World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations in relation to the WTO dispute on its country-of-origin labeling (COOL) regulations, according to the Canadian Pork Council (CPC).
The fact that the United States has not done so exacerbates discrimination against Canadian livestock exports and has denied much needed stability to Canadian hog producers....More
The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is leading a coalition of U.S. food and agricultural groups in urging the Obama administration to convince the European Union (EU) to negotiate a “comprehensive” free trade agreement, including addressing sanitary-phytosanitary (SPS) barriers to trade. ...More
Speaking at the BMO Capital Markets 2013 Farm to Market Conference Tuesday, Smithfield Foods CEO and President C. Larry Pope confirmed the company’s intent to take half its hogs off the feed additive ractopamine.
“We have two of our plants, which represent 43,000 hogs a day, a little over 10% of the industry, that we can ship into China and are shipping into China every day. On June 1, we will convert our third plant, and over 50% of our operations will have no ractopamine as part of their feed rations,” Pope says....More
Feral swine are not native to the United States. They are a cross between feral domestic swine introduced by Spanish explorers in the 1500s and the Eurasian boar, blogs Gail Keirn of USDA’s Animal and Plant Inspection Service. Feral swine have been called the “rototillers” of nature. Their longs snouts and tusks allow them to rip and root their way across America in search of food. Unfortunately, the path they leave behind impacts ranchers, farmers, land managers, conservationists, and suburbanites alike....More
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, along with Bill Gates, and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, today kicked off a two-day international open data conference, saying that data “is among the most important commodities in agriculture” and sharing it openly increases its value....More
The changes in how cuts of meat are labeled in grocery stores, due out this summer, will clear up confusion and bolster confidence among consumers. So says Iowa State University’s Joseph Cordray, professor of animal science and the director of Iowa State University’s Meat Laboratory....More
The Canadian Pork Council (CPC) recently hosted a meeting of North American pork industry leaders, finding several areas of common interest and concern. The meeting took place in Niagara Falls, Canada, where representatives of the CPC met with their counterparts from the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the Mexican pork producer organization, the Confederación de Porcicultores Mexicanos....More
The American Meat Institute (AMI) has filed comments criticizing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposed amendment to mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL). The deadline for filing is today on the proposed rule of March 12, 2013 issued by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.
In its letter of April 9, AMI suggests its member companies will be “significantly and adversely affected by the proposal” in that it would “force every supplier and every retailer to change its labeling information and systems.”...More
Export challenges are indeed one of the factors affecting pork and beef prices this spring, according to today’s Daily Livestock Report (www.dailylivestockreport.com).
And the challenges are indeed serious and involve two important markets, Russia and China, amid concerns over residues of ractopamine, a beta agonist used in pork, beef and turkey production. The product is sold under the trade name Paylean for pigs and Optiflexx for cattle....More