Groups keep pressure on food aid goals: A group of 40 agricultural, maritime, non-governmental and private voluntary organizations, ports and harbors and faith-based groups recently detailed in a letter to farm bill conferees what the coalition supports in terms of food aid policies and programs in the next farm bill. The key to successful U.S. food aid programs, they said, is "keeping U.S. commodities the differentiating characteristic of these programs. ... We believe that proven approach paves the way for a sustainable future." The coalition supports reauthorization of programs like Food for Peace (P.L. 480), Food for Progress, the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education & Child Nutrition and the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust. The coalition does not support "provisions that deviate significantly from the current transparency and structure of those programs by allowing the use of P.L. 480 Title II and Food for Progress funds to pay the costs of unspecified 'activities' conducted in recipient countries, decreasing the minimum funding level for non-emergency (developmental) Title II programs and capping the amount of funds that can be spent on developmental programs." Speaking to the press Oct. 16 at the World Food Prize, David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, said 2-4 million people could be reached with U.S. food aid if changes are made similar to what President Barack Obama proposed earlier this year, so it should be a "no-brainer." Beckmann said, "It doesn't make sense for us to appropriate food aid and not do it in the most efficient way." Beckmann said although the farm bill is unlikely to include Obama's full proposal, he believes the situation could turn more favorable next year. A very close House vote on an amendment similar to the President's proposal saw bipartisan support.
Injunction on longshore strike: In an Oct. 15 preliminary injunction, U.S. district Judge Ann Aiken ordered the International Longshore & Warehouse Union to stop inhibiting the operations of Tidewater Barge Lines. Longshore workers formed waterborne picket lines as a result of a labor dispute with the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Assn. Those picket lines were inhibiting the movement of cargo — including grain by companies not involved in the labor dispute such as Tidewater — in the region's waterway. Aiken's ruling is a preliminary action until a final decision is made by an administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board. A hearing is scheduled for Nov. 5.
Clarification on HACCP article: In the Oct. 7 edition of Feedstuffs, the article titled "Fabricating a HACCP Plan" contained some possibly misleading information regarding hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) programs being mandated under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The article stated that "the adoption of hazard analysis and critical control point principles are mandated within this act." However, according to the American Feed Industry Assn. (AFIA) and the National Grain & Feed Assn. (NGFA), FSMA contains no mention of companies being required to develop HACCP programs. Rather, the law mandates a hazard identification and preventive controls approach, which is similar to HACCP principles but is not necessarily a HACCP program. AFIA and NGFA believe that many other programs developed by trade associations and private-sector companies that take a hazard analysis and preventive control approach to food and feed safety will meet the requirements of FSMA without the higher costs of a formal HACCP program. In fact, the FSMA-proposed human food rules released earlier this year by the Food & Drug Administration do not require HACCP in the rules themselves. So, while a HACCP program likely will comply with the FSMA feed rules when those are published, AFIA and NGFA do not believe it will be mandatory and think that regulated facilities will be given the flexibility to consider other less-costly approaches to meeting FDA's requirements.
Retained placenta: Zoetis announced that it has awarded Dr. Rodrigo Bicalho, assistant professor of dairy production medicine at Cornell University, with the 2013 Cattle Call grant. Bicalho will use the $150,000 grant to evaluate ways to prevent retained placenta and ultimately improve overall uterine health in cattle, Zoetis said. "It's a widespread issue across the industry," Bicalho said. "Retained placenta has a link to immune suppression, can cause a significant amount of economic loss and is an animal welfare concern, too." The Cattle Call research grant program, in its second year, awards funding to support the development of new products and services that help improve the health and productivity of beef and dairy cattle. In 2013, Zoetis asked researchers to submit proposals to address ways to improve cattle reproduction or develop models for managing cattle pain.
Swine genetics: Babcock Genetics Inc., a worldwide supplier of swine genetics, announced the international launch of its Breed Select Program, a new genetic program available to swine producers. "Babcock has focused our research on developing a program that would offer a higher level of profitability to our customers," Babcock president James McPeak said. "We are maximizing genetic improvement by selecting lines that best complement each other." The program will improve key traits that are important profit drivers for swine producers, the company said, pointing to an improvement in number born while maintaining individual piglet birth weights.
ISO certification: Wenger Feeds' Hempfield Mill in Lancaster, Pa., recently became ISO certified in quality, environmental management and occupational health and safety for the design, manufacture and delivery of its custom feed products. "We view our certification as an important risk management component for our customers. It means we have written procedures in place for all of our processes and are audited regularly, both internally and externally, to ensure that we're manufacturing to our specifications," Jim Adams, president and chief executive officer, noted. The company said a high regard for safety and environmental stewardship have been vital initiatives for Wenger Feeds for many years, and the certification process adds an accountability factor to its efforts.
Mills in Brazil: Seaboard Corp. announced that it has acquired a 50% interest in Belarina Alimentos S.A., a Brazilian food company engaged in flour milling, pasta production and noodle distribution. The remaining 50% of the company is owned by CGG, a Brazilian grain origination and trading company. Belarina's mills are located in three states: Sao Paulo, Parana and Mata Grosso, Brazil. Historically, Belarina has sourced 50% of its wheat from Brazil, with the balance from Paraguay, Argentina, the U.S. and Canada.
Elevator service: Schindler Elevator Corp., a leading elevator and escalator company in North America, has acquired Skyline Elevator Inc. based in London, Ont. Established in 1975, Skyline focuses primarily on elevator maintenance, repair and modernization. The acquisition will enable Schindler to expand its presence in southwestern Ontario and lay the groundwork for future growth there. Skyline will continue to operate under its existing name, and all of its employees will be retained. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Heat app: Purina Animal Nutrition introduced the Heat Stress Manager for Sows app for smart phones. This free tool provides heat stress prevention tips and resources to producers to help them avoid seasonal production lulls. The app features an easy-to-use heat stress calculator for inputting the current temperature and humidity readings. It is recommended that producers install a thermometer and hygrometer in the sow barn to read these temperatures at the location of the sows. After inputting these readings, the temperature and humidity are translated into a thermal heat index reading that shows the severity of heat stress, ranging from mild to extreme risk. In addition to the heat stress calculator, the mobile app offers management and nutrition tips to mitigate heat stress. The app is available to download for Android phones at http://bit.ly/AndroidSowManager and for iPhones at http://bit.ly/iPhoneSowManager.
FDA approval: Bayer HealthCare's Animal Health Division announced that it received approval from the Food & Drug Administration to market ProstaMate (dinoprost tromethamine) and OvaCyst (gonadorelin diacetate tetrahydrate) for indications in support of reproduction management as prescribed by veterinarians. ProstaMate is indicated for use in cattle, swine and mares and OvaCyst for use in dairy cattle. Bayer acquired these two products through its purchase of Teva Animal Health.