APHIS publishes final BSE rule: The Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) published its final bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) rule in the Dec. 4 Federal Register. The comprehensive rule establishes a risk-based approach, which corresponds with the World Organization for Animal Health's (OIE) guidelines, in protecting against the introduction of BSE through the import of cattle and cattle products. APHIS proposed the rule in 2012, announcing that it intended to change the current regulations, which prohibit the import of live cattle from regions where BSE is present and limit beef and other animal products from regions where BSE exists. Numerous industry groups have expressed strong support for the new rule, which will take effect March 4, 2014.
Hagen leaves USDA for Deloitte: Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, currently serving as undersecretary for food safety at USDA, will join the consumer products practice of Deloitte & Touche LLP as a food safety senior adviser. She announced her resignation from the agency in November (Feedstuffs, Dec. 2). Deloitte said in a statement Hagen will advise its clients on increased regulatory requirements, food and product safety challenges, supply chain, traceback, prevention-based policies, strategy and communications. "Food safety is an issue of extreme and increasing importance not only for the end consumer but also for the manufacturers whose businesses rely on the public's trust," Hagen explained. "I am excited to be joining the team at Deloitte as we help manufacturers and producers that focus on safety as a top priority and guide them as they comply with increasingly complex regulation." Hagen took office as undersecretary in August 2010 and oversaw Food Safety & Inspection Service policies and programs, including the proposed poultry inspection modernization rule. "Elisabeth will bring to Deloitte an impressive blend of regulatory level oversight and hands-on experience stemming from her role as the highest-ranking food safety official in the U.S.," said Pat Conroy, vice chairman of Deloitte LLP and U.S. consumer products practice leader of the firm.
Allied acquires three grain facilities: Allied Cooperative announced that it has acquired WI Rapids Grain LLC. Three facilities — one in Wisconsin Rapids and two in Blair, Wis. — were purchased on auction as part of a Chapter 128 bankruptcy for WI Rapids Grain. The purchase of these facilities gives Allied's grain division seven locations and 11.4 million bu. of total storage capacity. In addition to the increase in grain storage capacity, the Wisconsin Rapids facility also has rail service, providing Allied with the ability to ship 25-car shuttles on the Canadian National railroad.
Waterways Council outlines goals: Agricultural groups and members of the Waterways Council, including several labor groups and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, outlined their goals in a letter to conferees for the Water Resources Reform & Development Act that are currently negotiating the bill for final passage. The letter asks the conferees to support a final bill that will help modernize the nation's aging lock and dam system and reform the processes to deliver navigation projects on time and on budget. The letter urges conferees to adopt the Senate provision on federalizing completion of the Olmsted lock and dam project, which would allow trust fund monies to flow to other projects in need. The council also called for an increase in the user fee for towboat operators that's paid into the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. This user fee is currently 20 cents/gal. of fuel used while operating on the inland system, and the group believes it should be increased to 26-29 cents/gal. The user fee increase is supported by those who pay it, but the measure wasn't included in the Senate or House versions.
Clarification: In the NewsWatch section of the Nov. 25 edition of Feedstuffs, an item on Gold Star mill contained misleading information. The article stated that "Gold Star Feed & Grain has closed its doors," which implied that the business had closed entirely. Gold Star Feed & Grain told Feedstuffs that the Brandon, Vt., feed mill has been closed, but the company will still continue to operate its feed mills in Sangerfield and Adams Center, N.Y., and Augusta, Maine. Gold Star Feed & Grain is a joint venture between Blue Seal Feeds and J.D. Heiskell & Co. "J.D. Heiskell & Co. is excited to be part of the New York and New England dairy communities through its investment in Gold Star Feed & Grain and looks forward to additional growth in the Northeast," said Andy Dugan, Gold Star general manager.
North Dakota TB: North Dakota and federal veterinarians are investigating a case of tuberculosis (TB) in a young, non-lactating heifer from an Oliver County, N.D., dairy herd. North Dakota state veterinarian Dr. Susan Keller said the case was found when the owner agreed to have the herd tested after an employee tested positive for the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. "U.S. Veterinary Service Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the TB diagnosis in the heifer," Keller said. "An epidemiologic investigation is now underway, and further testing will be done to determine the source of the disease and to prevent its spread. Both the herd owner and the employee are fully cooperating in the investigation."