As Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee in the 114th Congress, Mike Conaway has revised the subcommittee structure to allow for closer policy oversight and careful attention to reauthorization of nutrition programs and futures trading. In his first audio interview on ag issues this year, Conaway covers a wide variety of topics. He expects congressional action on immigration policy but isn’t sure tax reform will be a part of the early congressional agenda. The Texas Republican says the budget process will dominate the early days of the new congress and expects budget reconciliation to play a major role in policy reform and debate. Conaway says the government must respect industry investments made within the Renewable Fuels Standard but questions overall volumes.
As U-S trade representative Michael Froman appeared before congressional committees this week to stress the need for the president to be granted Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), poultry producers were talking trade issues in Atlanta at the IPPE.
USA Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) President Jim Sumner says TPA is critical to getting major trade agreements with Asia and Europe approved. “Actually I think we got the cart before the house on this,” said Sumner. “We should have had TPA before we went out and started the negotiations with these countries so that they have the assurance that they can give us the best deal and Congress is going to accept it…We need to have these trade agreements and we need Congress to get on board.”
Sumner says big trade issue for the poultry industry right now is the banning of U-S poultry imports by China and two other countries due to the discovery of high pathogen avian influenza in wild birds on the West Coast and now in a California commercial turkey flock. “To think that you have to ban all poultry imports from the entire United States is really overreaction,” he said, especially since China is even banning imports of breeding stock from the U.S. “The United States supplies 95% of the primary breeding stock for China,” said Sumner. “How is China going to continue to grow and develop their industry without the necessary breeding stock.”
Sumner says a regionalized approach, such as banning imports from affected states or even counties, makes more sense and is what the World Organization for Animal Health recommends.
Listen to Jamie’s interview with Jim Sumner here: Interview with Jim Sumner, USAPEEC
Photos from the event can be found here:
2015 International Production and Processing Expo Photos
I’ve written before about ice hooks: In the early 1900s, folks would use this tool to “harvest” blocks of ice from ponds, wrap them in straw or sawdust to keep the ice as long as possible, and store them in an insulated building. They’d later pop one of those blocks in the icebox to keep food from spoiling … this was done long before refrigerators/freezers came about. The horse-drawn ice wagon and the daily occupation of the iceman, who made regular door-to-door deliveries of block ice, was as much a social institution as the milk man.
This is a picture of an old icebox. We are used to having the luxury of butchering a steer and hog and storing the entire thing in a deep freeze, not having to worry about it thawing unless the electricity goes out for a long while. I’m glad I don’t have to grab blocks of ice to fill the icebox to keep our food frozen!
It’s missing the door latches and needs a fresh coat of paint, but that’s part of its uniqueness. Since it’s a front porch decoration now, I just imagine that this summer it will be filled with sidewalk chalk, sticks, bubbles and cat food. Not quite the intended use, but with a 2-year-old in tow, anything is possible!
Until we walk again …
Both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are under new management and Chairmen Mike Conaway (R-TX) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) announced their new subcommittee assignments this week.
“I look forward to working with this very talented team of proven leaders,” Conaway said. “Their diverse backgrounds will be of great value to the Committee as we work to promote a strong production agriculture system and vibrant rural America.”
“We are lucky to have a wealth of experience in former and current chairs of not only our committee, but others in the Senate, as well as a hearty dose of new blood,” Roberts said. “We have a lot of work to do, not only with legislation but in our robust oversight responsibilities.This posse is saddled up and ready to ride.”
Novus International’s CEO, Francois Fraudeau, has been in the drivers seat about a year now and I caught up with him in their booth at the 2015 International Production & Processing Expo in Atlanta, GA.
Looking into the future, Francois hit on some very important strategic goals for the company. “The strategy for Novus will be to keep investing in our two pillars of methionine production and specialty business of minerals and enzymes. We will develop new technologies in house and look outside to use technologies that will help our customers become more profitable and sustainable in the future.”
The vision of Novus is to help feed the world affordable, wholesome food which enables consumers to achieve a higher quality of life. Francois shared a few of their products that do just that. One is MINTREX and Novus is proud to be celebrating it’s 10 year anniversary.
“We believe we are the number one supplier in the industry for protease and this is a great achievement. This technology did not exist five or six years ago and now we are working with customers, developing sustainable solutions and enhancing the protein value.”
Learn more about Novus International’s presence at IPPE and their sustainability efforts in my complete interview with Francois. Interview with Francois Fraudeau, CEO Novus International
Photos from the event can be found here:
2015 International Production and Processing Expo Photos
The first Food Dialogues event of 2015 in live right now. The focus is on “Animal Care and Consumers’ Emerging Expectations.” It is being held in Florida in conjunction with the International Dairy Foods Association meeting taking place there. The event is also sponsored by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance.
The Food Dialogues panel of food industry and animal care experts will discuss the various tools and strategies that farmers, ranchers and veterinarians use to promote animal health and a safe food supply. These animal care techniques and practices – from housing to the use of antibiotics – are increasingly more important to food manufacturers and consumers as they’re making sourcing and purchasing decisions. Join the discussion to learn if what is happening on farms and ranches across the nation is meeting the consumers’ expectations.
The panel includes:
Moderator: Elisabeth Leamy, journalist, author and Dr. OZ consumer and investigative correspondent
Bruce Feinberg, global animal health and welfare officer, McDonald’s
Robin R. Ganzert, Ph.D. , president and CEO of the American Humane Association
Jim Mulhern, president and CEO, National Milk Producers Federation
Dr. Marcia Endres, D.V.M., Ph.D., professor of dairy science, University of Minnesota
Mike Reidy , senior vice president of corporate affairs, Leprino Foods
Chuck Ahlem, dairy farmer, Hilmar Jerseys, Hilmar, California
The event live stream will be recorded so that you can watch it later.
- Mahindra USA announces the opening of its new Midwest Authorized Distribution Center in mid-February 2015 that will serve a six state area to meet the increasing demand for Mahindra products.
- FMC Agricultural Solutions has promoted Bob West to strategic accounts manager.
- NEW short-term findings from a study by Dr. David Katz and his colleagues at the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center provide suggestive evidence that individuals with heart disease can safely include eggs in their diet.
- The Dairy Calf and Heifer Association is now accepting applications for its annual scholarship program.
Here’s a video by Iowa Filmakers “The Iowa Nice Guy” telling people what they don’t know about farming. It’s pretty funny and serves up a nice helping of good information. Share with your friends!
Culver’s restaurants across the nation continue to build support for America’s farm families as part of the chain’s Thank You Farmers initiative. After the second year of the program, Culver’s has connected with people all over the United States, spreading the Thank You Farmers message through efforts such as:
– A larger-than-life Thank You Farmers corn maze in Tracy, Minn.
– Three blue barns sharing a giant thank you to America’s farmers
– A nationwide coloring contest that gave young guests the chance to be featured in Culver’s 2015 Thank You Farmers calendar
– In-restaurant fundraising backed by the efforts of more than 380 restaurants
The results after two years? Nearly a half-million dollars raised in support of the National FFA Foundation, local FFA chapters and a variety of local agriculture organizations.
“We’re excited to see the enthusiasm with which guests have embraced Thank You Farmers,” said Craig Culver, CEO and founder of Culver’s. “We’re deeply grounded in the farms that produce the dairy and grow the food that have made our restaurant what it is. It’s been a natural partnership since Culver’s was established over 30 years ago.”
The second year of Thank You Farmers kicked off with increased education around farming and where food comes from in Culver’s restaurants across the U.S. Participating restaurants pledged their support to farm families through percent-of-sales nights, a guest donation program and event sponsorships—all benefiting local chapters of the National FFA Organization and other agricultural organizations.
“Thank You Farmers has become an integral part of our story and is ingrained in our values and culture,” said David Stidham, Culver’s vice president of marketing. “We’ve witnessed firsthand the incredible energy and passion that these future agricultural leaders have for their fields. And we’re committed to helping ensure they reach their goals.”
Soybean growers and their close allies in the biodiesel industry in this country are blasting the U.S government’s decision to allow Argentinian biodiesel easier access to American markets. The American Soybean Association (ASA) and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) say the decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ease sustainability requirements of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to fast-track the South American fuel couldn’t come at a worse time.
“Today’s decision issued by EPA on Argentinian biodiesel shows a lack of coordination and alarming tone-deafness regarding the purposes of the Renewable Fuels Standard,” said ASA President and Brownfield, Texas, farmer Wade Cowan. “EPA has put the interests of our foreign competitors above those of soybean farmers here in the U.S. At this point, we can only scratch our heads and wonder what EPA’s priorities are when it comes to the domestic renewable fuels industry.”
“This decision poses a tremendous threat to U.S. industry and jobs, not to mention the overriding goal of the RFS of developing clean, homegrown renewable fuels,” said Anne Steckel, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs. “This is incredibly damaging, particularly in light of the continued delays in establishing RFS volumes. The Obama administration has effectively run the U.S. biodiesel industry into a ditch over the past year by failing to establish a functioning renewable fuels policy, and instead of pulling the domestic industry out, it is fast-tracking foreign competition.”
Under the RFS, feedstocks generally must be grown on land that was cleared or cultivated prior to Dec. 18, 2007 – when the RFS was implemented. Typically, foreign producers must closely map and track each batch of feedstock used to produce imported renewable fuels. EPA’s decision allows Argentinian biodiesel producers to use a survey plan for certifying that feedstocks used, far less stringent than the current map and track requirement and more difficult to verify. NBB estimates that up to 600 million gallons of Argentinian biodiesel could enter the U.S. as a result of the change.
“President Obama should not be pleased with the job EPA is doing on renewable fuels. The agency’s manner of haphazard decision-making, which is so sorely lacking in direction, belies the Obama Administration’s support for the U.S. biofuels industry,” Cowan said. “Until the past year, the White House could rightly share the credit for the benefits that this industry has provided to the rural economy, energy security, and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. But these latest actions and inactions from EPA overshadow that progress and can only be seen as an embarrassment.”