Poultry interests concerned by TPP talks: A group of 11 bipartisan U.S. senators, led by Senate Chicken Caucus co-chairs Sens. Chris Coons (D., Del.) and Johnny Isakson (R., Ga.), expressed concern regarding trade restrictions on U.S. chicken products by several countries participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks. Specifically, the senators took issue with Canada's supply management program that "severely limits U.S. chicken exports" to Canada. Similarly, they expressed concern about Australia's and New Zealand's use of non-scientific barriers related to poultry disease. "If Australia and New Zealand are to participate in the TPP, they should conform to World Organization for Animal Health standards," the senators wrote. Finally, they said Japan's administrative guidance sets an unofficial quota on U.S. chicken products. Japan is a significant potential market for the U.S. The concerns of poultry interests also follow up on previous issues raised by a coalition of agricultural organizations led by the National Pork Producers Council that said they may oppose a final TPP deal if Japan doesn't agree to comprehensive trade liberalization, including elimination of tariffs on virtually all U.S. agricultural products.
WRRDA talks continue: The Water Resources Reform & Development Act (WRRDA) — which has been passed by both the House and Senate and went to conference committee late last year to reconcile the differences between the two chambers' bills — continues to be negotiated as the new year begins. Although the goal of completing an agreement by the end of 2013 was not met, members from both chambers on both sides of the aisle have expressed confidence that they will get the bill passed soon, the National Association of Wheat Growers reported. WRRDA seeks to increase funding for waterway development projects, such as deepening waterways and repairing and upgrading locks and dams.
Suit filed over Hawaii's anti-biotech law: DuPont, Syngenta and Agrigenetics Inc. (a company affiliated with Dow AgroSciences) filed suit Jan. 10 in the U.S. District Court in Honolulu, Hawaii, to block a new law enacted on the island of Kauai that seeks to limit the planting of biotech crops and the use of pesticides. The bill, passed in November, requires large agricultural companies to disclose pesticide use and biotech crop plantings while establishing buffer zones around schools, homes and hospitals. A similar measure has been introduced on the island of Maui. Hawaiian islands are a popular testing ground for biotech crops because of the year-round temperate climate. A spokesperson for Syngenta told Reuters the ordinance is "invalid" because counties have no jurisdiction to regulate those activities already regulated by government agencies under state and federal laws.
Mosaic cleared to buy CF business: The Mosaic Co. has been advised that the U.S. Department of Justice closed its review and terminated the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of Mosaic's acquisition of the phosphate business of CF Industries Inc., according to an announcement. The waiting period was scheduled to expire Jan. 15. The closing of the transaction remains subject to receipt of other regulatory approvals. Mosaic and CF announced in October 2013 that they had entered into a definitive agreement relating to the proposed transaction. Mosaic is a leading producer and marketer of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients and feed ingredients for the global agriculture industry.
Bee summit: Several agricultural, food and conservation organizations are requesting a U.S. Department of Agriculture summit on bee nutrition and forage. In a joint letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the groups asked that USDA consider scheduling a Bee Nutrition & Forage Summit in conjunction with the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign meeting set for the fall. Proponents hope the summit can serve as a catalyst for collaborative efforts that will provide real improvements in bee health due to an increased understanding of the nutritional needs of honeybees and additional opportunities to access and improve bee forage on the American landscape. USDA is also currently planning a varroa mite summit in February. Understanding various effects on bee health such as varroa mites and nutrition are important to inform any future actions that could affect producers' access to crop protection tools.
Cargill in Ukraine: UkrLandFarming (ULF), the Ukraine's largest integrated agricultural group, announced last week that Cargill has become a registered shareholder, with a 5% stake in its company. Cargill and ULF seek to enhance and develop their relationship through business opportunities that will benefit to both parties. In a statement, ULF said it is supplying Cargill's grain needs in the Ukraine, while Cargill, in turn, provides financial terms to ULF to secure the supply. "The agreement with Cargill indicates an important step for ULF in developing our international presence and export potential," ULF chief executive officer Oleh Bakhmatyuk said. "It signals not only significant potential of ULF but the Ukrainian agricultural sector as a whole to the world." Several other projects are being discussed between Cargill and ULF, including logistics. While the companies will continue to enhance the new arrangement, Cargill does not intend to become involved in ULF operations.
Mycoplasma bacterin: Newport Laboratories announced the addition of MAINSAIL, a Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae bacterin, to its swine commercial product portfolio. MAINSAIL, manufactured by ProtaTek International Inc. in St. Paul, Minn., is a single-dose M. hyopneumoniae bacterin manufactured with a novel dual-adjuvant system. MAINSAIL is for use in all breeds of healthy pigs three weeks of age or older as an aid in the reduction of lung lesions due to swine enzootic pneumonia caused by M. hyopneumoniae. A 1.0 mL dose administered intramuscularly offers at least 194 days of immunity, Newport said. A 1.0 mL dose of MAINSAIL reduces handling time and animal stress while minimizing tissue disruption. MAINSAIL is available in 100-, 250- and 500-dose sizes. Swine practitioners can purchase MAINSAIL directly from Newport. Swine producers are encouraged to speak with their veterinarian for details and purchasing information.
Piglet energy: Brookside Agra announced that it has developed a fast-acting, all-natural nutrient supplement that gives weak, newborn piglets an energy boost and a chance at survival. Given right after birth to weak, cold piglets with a birth weight below 1,000 g, liquid PiggyLift helps reduce mortality in large litters, prevents weak piglets from starving and provides small piglets with the energy boost they need to find and secure a teat for suckling. PiggyLift is formulated with all-natural ingredients, including: vitamins A, D and E, alfa-tocopherol, sodium selenite, vegetable fat, demineralized water, egg powder and colostrum powder. Brookside Agra manufactures and distributes specially formulated, all-natural feed ingredients and all-natural environmental products to help improve the performance of livestock, poultry, companion animals, aquaculture and plants.
Hoof mineral: Zinpro Corp. has introduced Availa-Plus, which provides U.S. dairy and beef producers with a new approach to foot health management. Availa-Plus, when fed as part of a specific premix formula (DD Premix Formula), offers a novel nutritional solution to help provide protection against digital dermatitis (commonly known as hairy heel warts) by helping animals resist the development of painful lesions in contaminated environments. Availa-Plus contains a unique combination of complexed zinc, manganese, copper and cobalt (from Zinpro Performance Minerals), plus potassium iodide.
Penicillin injection: Norbrook Inc. announced that it has received Food & Drug Administration approval for its new Tandem Pen injection for the treatment of penicillin-susceptible microorganisms associated with bacterial pneumonia (shipping fever complex), upper respiratory infections and blackleg in cattle. According to the company, Tandem Pen is a combination of sterile penicillin G benzathine and penicillin G procaine that is administered using a subcutaneous route of injection. Tandem Pen is available without prescription in multi-dose 100 mL, 250 mL and 500 mL vials.