FSMA animal feed rule released: The Food & Drug Administration issued a proposed rule Oct. 25 under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) aimed at improving the safety of food for animals. FSMA represents the most significant reform to feed regulations in several decades and has been anticipated by industry members. The proposed rule would require makers of animal feed and pet food to be sold in the U.S. to develop a formal plan and put into place procedures to prevent foodborne illness. Facilities producing animal food would be required to have written plans that identify hazards, specify the steps that will be put in place to minimize or prevent those hazards, identify monitoring procedures, record monitoring results and specify what actions would be taken to correct problems that arise. The proposed rule would also, for the first time, require animal food facilities to follow proposed current good manufacturing practices (CGMP) that address areas such as sanitation. Although the proposed rule is similar to the earlier proposed human food CGMP, it isn't identical; for instance, it excludes practices that don't pertain to animal food, such as allergen cross-contact. The rule does not apply to farms that manufacture food for their own animals. The rule is open for public comments for 120 days. Richard Sellers, American Feed Industry Assn. (AFIA) vice president of feed regulation and nutrition, said the organization will begin implementing its plan to analyze the preventive control rules jointly with the foreign supplier verification and accreditation of third-party auditors rules that were already released. He said, "We have asked the agency to extend the deadline for comments to match the preventive control rules deadline," which is open until Nov. 26. AFIA, the National Grain & Feed Assn. and Feedstuffs are jointly planning a webinar on the proposed rule in November. Check www.Feedstuffs.com for additional details.
Groups call for antibiotic phase-out: A letter was sent to the White House, Food & Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Human & Health Services and other congressional supporters and their staffs on behalf of 30 groups to take swift action to end antibiotic overuse and misuse in food animal production. Specifically, the letter asked the President to direct the Office of Management & Budget to finalize FDA "Guidance #213" plus "issue a proposed rule on the veterinary feed directive this fall in order to initiate the three-year phase-out of growth promotion and production-related uses of antibiotics and to move to the necessary next steps required to protect public health." The letter went on to explain that enforceable requirements are needed to guarantee an end to non-medically necessary uses of antibiotics in food animals. Therefore, it said the FDA guidance "must clearly limit the use of antibiotics for disease prevention in animals to prevent misuse, and it should include a plan to monitor and report to the public on progress in reducing antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance."
USDA asked to explain loan issues: Fourteen southern-state senators, led by Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Thad Cochran (R., Miss.), wrote a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting an explanation for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Sept. 30 decision to apply a 5.1% sequester on marketing assistance loans made after Oct. 1, which could result in price reductions for peanut and cotton yields. The letter also asks USDA to explain the rationale behind the timing of the loan processing delay. "The decision to apply sequestration and delay loan processing just as harvest across much of the Sun Belt is gearing up is particularly damaging because it was made without warning," the senators wrote. "This means growers, marketing cooperatives, private merchandizing firms and agribusinesses were unable to make alternative plans to mitigate the financial hardship imposed by the decisions." They noted that USDA's announcement did not specify whether loan redemptions would be affected by sequestration, which "will have a direct bearing on how growers, marketing cooperatives, private merchandizing firms and agribusinesses adjust their current and future marketing strategy." The 14-day loan processing delay to allow for software updates was scheduled to begin Oct. 1 but was delayed during the partial government shutdown. USDA indicated during the shutdown that the 14-day software upgrade would commence when the government reopened.
Census of Ag delay: Because of the three-week federal government shutdown, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will not release the 2012 "Census of Agriculture" as scheduled. In an Oct. 24 update, NASS said the publication of the census was slated for Feb. 4, 2014, but the work stoppage necessitated by the lapse in federal funding precluded a timely release of the data. NASS has not yet set a new release date for the census.
Prairie chicken plan: The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service endorsed the Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies' Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-Wide Conservation Plan. Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R., Texas) called the plan an "innovative collaboration that allows states, landowners, farmers, ranchers and energy producers to work together to preserve habitat. It provides a framework to advance economic development and preserve private property rights while facilitating conservation for the lesser prairie-chicken." Neugebauer added that the plan empowers state wildlife agencies and also provides an incentive for individual property owners to preserve the habitat. He added that, given the FWS support, the Range-Wide Conservation Plan should "absolutely prevent the need to list the lesser prairie-chicken" on the Endangered Species List.
Sweet sorghum: Energy crop company Ceres Inc. and Syngenta announced that they have extended a joint market development agreement in Brazil and will move forward with their efforts to promote the use of both sweet sorghum and high-biomass sorghum at Brazilian ethanol mills. Under the renewed agreement, Syngenta and Ceres will continue to collaborate on field evaluations with the mills. Syngenta will evaluate its portfolio of crop protection products alongside Ceres' hybrids, while Ceres will provide both seed and research support. The companies will coordinate outreach to ethanol mills and develop industry training programs. Syngenta aims to register additional crop protection products for sorghum. "We see sweet sorghum as a potential complement to sugarcane in ethanol production, and we are working together with Ceres to identify the best protocols to fully protect and amplify the inherent potential of this crop," said Adriano Vilas Boas, global marketing director for sugarcane at Syngenta. Andre Franco, general manager of Ceres Sementes do Brasil Ltda., added, "Working together with Syngenta, we have made important progress in fine-tuning crop management practices that can enhance yields through greater protection against pests, diseases and weeds."
Improved grower: Purina Animal Nutrition introduced a reformulation of its AMPLI-Calf Grower feed, a dairy heifer feed specifically formulated to meet the nutritional and rumen development needs of dairy heifer calves that are 12-24 weeks of age. According to the announcement, the reformulated AMPLI-Calf Grower feed can further improve weight gains and feed efficiency compared to the product's previous formula. The reformulated AMPLI-Calf Grower feed will be available starting Oct. 28.
Senior horses: Cargill announced that it has introduced a new veterinarian-recommended Nutrena SafeChoice Senior horse feed that is formulated to help improve senior horse nutrition. SafeChoice Senior is an added-fat, controlled-starch, complete feed formula that is ideal for senior horses and their unique needs. It is designed for horses older than 15 years, specifically those suffering from unexpected age-related weight loss, a decline in energy, difficulty maintaining muscle mass, dull hair coat or difficulty chewing hay. It contains amino acid fortification and higher fat levels to help maintain energy and manage unwanted weight loss, Cargill said, while the controlled starch and sugar helps horses with equine metabolic sensitivities. SafeChoice Senior has balanced omega 3 and 6 fatty acid levels to help keep inflammation in check and is enriched with essential amino acids to support muscle maintenance.
Energy supplement: Purina Animal Nutrition introduced Propel Energy Plus supplement, a source of saturated fat. The supplement is manufactured with Purina's proprietary Macro Encapsulation Technology to help deliver a concentrated energy source to the cow in a palatable and easy-to-handle form, the company said.
Calf fence: Hampel Animal Care introduced the Calf-Tel Heavy Duty Fence System, a new structure system that provides U.S. dairy producers, calf growers and heifer raisers with a durable and flexible gate system. The Heavy Duty Fence System provides offers new features, including a fully functional front door with a dual locking system, a fold in/fold over feature for cleaning the hutch and pen areas, a mobile and flexible wheel system and freeze-free feet.
Calf supplement: Agri-Nutrition Consulting Inc. has launched Calf Power Shield, a supplement for young calves that contains natural and specialized egg proteins that are needed for calves to get off to a healthy start and strengthen their immune system while promoting gut development. It is designed to be added to the milk or milk replacer of calves younger than 21 days of age for protection until they fully develop their own functioning immune system.