Farm bill debate stumbles: There was plenty of speculation heading into Thanksgiving as to whether the end may finally be in sight for the 2013 farm bill, with early reports indicating potential for an agreement by the end of the week. However, hope for an agreement faded by mid-Thursday following a series of meetings between agriculture committee principals. The commodity title remains a sticking point, among several others, in the negotiation process currently taking place on Capitol Hill. If Congress fails to meet the mid-December deadline, the farm bill could be kicked into a third year of debate. Both chambers are on recess Thanksgiving week.
Ag groups want fair tariff treatment: An ad hoc coalition of agricultural and food organizations led by the National Pork Producers Council is urging Congress to establish criteria for revoking a country's tariff-free access to the U.S. market if it fails to give U.S. products treatment consistent with international trade rules. "The fact that these countries may maintain these restrictions on U.S. goods while benefitting from unilateral preferential treatment for their products in the U.S. market — and with little apparent concern about losing those tariff benefits — is clearly inconsistent with the intent of Congress, and we believe this must change," the coalition said. The coalition also weighed in on renewing beneficial trade treatment for African nations that restrict U.S. imports, saying either a long-term or permanent extension would remove any incentive for beneficiary nations to move toward reciprocal trade relationships with the U.S.
FDA disbands vet med advisory group: The Food & Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) announced Nov. 22 the disbanding of its Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee (VMAC), a group of outside experts retained as special government employees to offer opinions on animal drug and food issues. CVM said it will instead utilize other forums to seek expert and public opinion on regulatory matters. In an update, CVM said it believes that VMAC is no longer necessary because of other opportunities for input; the last VMAC meeting was in 2010, and the committee has met only six times in the last decade. CVM noted that it has held several other public meetings on specific regulatory issues in the same time period. Additionally, CVM encourages public input through the Federal Register on proposed rules, draft guidance documents for industry and other calls for public comment.
China rejects cargo of U.S. corn: China rejected a cargo of U.S. corn containing an unapproved genetically modified strain, MIR 162. As reported by Reuters, a sample taken from a cargo of 55,000-60,000 metric tons contained Syngenta's Agrisure Viptera. The Environmental Protection Agency just approved Agrisure Viptera 3110 for the U.S., and it already is being shipped to Japan, Europe and Mexico. China is expected to approve the MIR 162 strain very soon. The shipment seems to be an isolated case, and traders are considering it a minor hiccup.
Gold Star mill closes: Gold Star Feed & Grain has closed its doors. Gold Star was a joint venture between Blue Seal Feeds and J.D. Heiskell & Co. The Vermont feed and grain mill sold mixed dairy feeds, feed commodities and other nutritional feed supplements. The feed will now be manufactured by another supplier. The Rutland Herald reported that several factors went into the decision to close the business, but Gold Star general manager Andrew Dugan declined to disclose details.
Vitamin A price: DSM announced Nov. 29 that the price for all of its forms of vitamin A will be increased 12%, effective immediately, for non-contracted business.
Paul Hensley: Paul Hensley, 78, of Tippecanoe, Ind., passed away at his home Nov. 19. In 1962, Hensley and his wife started Hensley Fabricating & Equipment Co. and designed and manufactured equipment for the feed and grain industries. In 1988, they began building bulk feed bodies and trailers, and today, Hensley feed trailers traverse the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central and South America and Australia.
Roger Scott: Roger E. Scott, 71, business manager for Grain States Soya Inc./Soy Best, passed away Nov. 20 after a long struggle with cancer. During his long career, Scott was instrumental in introducing and selling Soy Best in the Midwest.
Threonine capacity: Evonik announced Nov. 22 that it has increased production capacity for its ThreAMINO L-threonine at Evonik Agroferm Zrt., its subsidiary in Kaba, Hungary, to 30,000 metric tons. "The expansion of the plant in Kaba is a milestone for the growth strategy of Evonik in the area of feed amino acids," said Dr. Stefan Mack, head of product management in the Evonik Bioproducts Business Line. "We now have a world-scale plant for ThreAMINO with state-of-the-art technology." Fermentation and processing capacity was also increased as part of the expansion, which will enable Evonik to meet rising demand for L-threonine (feed grade 98.5%), the announcement said.
Organic listing: Novus announced that the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) has determined that its chelated trace mineral products MINTREX Zn, MINTREX Cu and MINTREX Mn have met the compliance requirements outlined in the official "OMRI Policy Manual" and that these products now are listed for use in organic production. This status applies to use of MINTREX in the U.S. market.
Feed testing: The Food & Drug Administration awarded a grant totaling $495,000 over five years to the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System (PADLS) Toxicology Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine's New Bolton Center. The grant is designed to expand and improve testing of pet foods and livestock feeds during suspected contamination events. PADLS will investigate the possibility of adapting and validating the use of a relatively inexpensive, simple-to-use, handheld reader to analyze complex animal feeds and pet foods for "priority mycotoxins." The study will investigate whether the equipment can be used to analyze dog food, cattle feed and swine feed and how this testing method compares with standard methods to determine whether it would work well in a large-scale outbreak.
Ready formulation: Lallemand Animal Nutrition announced Levucell SC Advantage Titan, a new, ready-to-use formulation of the company's active dry yeast. The product contains the same Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain CNCM I-1077 as Lallemand's other Levucell SC products, but now it's available as a ready-to-use formulation for use in any situation: on-farm mixing, top-dress, etc. The company said Levucell SC Advantage Titan is easy to blend and is available in a 50 lb. box with 40 boxes per pallet, which results in 800 one-ounce or 10 billion colony-forming unit feedings per box.
European turkey: Kemin Industries announced that, during the July meeting of the European Commission's Standing Committee for Animal Nutrition, Kemin's Bacillus subtilis PB6 (CLOSTAT) was approved for use in turkeys for fattening, thus extending its existing approval for use in chickens for fattening, minor poultry species and piglets.