Feed rule extension requested: The American Feed Industry Assn., National Grain & Feed Assn., National Renderers Assn. and Pet Food Institute have jointly asked the Food & Drug Administration to extend the comment period from March 31 to June 30 for the animal feed rule of the Food Safety Modernization Act. Because of the extensive nature and changes required under the proposed Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Risk-Based Preventative Controls for Food for Animals rules, the groups asked for an additional 90 days to comment since FDA is no longer held to a court-imposed deadline for the comment period. The letter notes that some of the organizations may also be requesting that FDA issue another proposed rule following its conclusion of the comments received, given the extent of changes to be recommended to the existing proposed rule.
Work on waterway bill continues: Water Resource Development Act conferees agreed to let Congress retain authority on approving Army Corps of Engineers dredging, navigation and flood control projects, which was a key component in the House-passed version of the bill and one of the final obstacles to obtaining a final conference agreement, according to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. The Senate-passed version of the waterway bill would have allowed for automatic authorization of projects once the Corps finished its analysis. The conference agreement could be finalized in the coming weeks. Conferee Rep. Bob Gibbs (R., Ohio) assured that a final agreement "will happen" but did not want to divulge details in order to maintain the delicate balance within ongoing negotiations.
Agspring buys grain elevators: Agspring, a private equity group based in Kansas City, Mo., recently signed an agreement to purchase a General Mills grain elevator network in Idaho. The transaction to purchase facilities in Newdale, Blackfoot, American Falls, Rockford, Idaho Falls, Pocatello and Schiller Siding, Ida., is expected to be completed before the end of the company's fiscal year, ending May 25. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Brandt, iHammer form joint venture: Brandt, a manufacturer of agricultural specialty products, recently announced that it has formed a joint venture with Innovation Hammer LLC (iHammer), a company dedicated to improving plant health and yields through field-tested breakthroughs in technology and science. Rick Brandt, chief executive officer and president of Brandt, said, "iHammer has truly groundbreaking technologies for the ag, turf and ornamental markets." The joint venture will work closely with the Brandt Discovery & Innovation team, part of Brandt's Specialty Formulations division. Otherwise, terms of the deal were not released.
OSHA drops case against small farm: The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has decided to drop its case against a Nebraska farm, according to a statement from Sen. Mike Johanns' (R., Neb.) office Feb. 27. The small farm, which was wrongly targeted by OSHA, had been facing $132,000 in fines, the statement said. "Producers shouldn't have to worry about the government placing undue and illegal burdens on their operations," Johanns said. "The law clearly exempts small farms from OSHA regulations, and I'm glad the agency took this step to get back in line with the law." Earlier this year, language Johanns introduced clarifying a 30-plus-year-old provision that excludes farms with fewer than 10 employees from being regulated by OSHA was included in the omnibus appropriations package. Johanns and 42 senators sent a letter demanding that the agency immediately stop the regulation of family farms. Since then, OSHA has pledged to clarify its policies on regulating the activity of these farms.
Niacin price: DSM has announced that the price of its ROVIMIX Niacin will increase 20%, with immediate effect, for non-contracted business.
COOL report: The World Trade Organization stated Feb. 28 that it anticipates issuing a confidential interim report on the hearing panel's findings in the country-of-origin labeling (COOL) case to Canada on June 20. The final report is expected approximately one month later, in response to Canada's COOL issues.
Educational video: Consumers have increasing questions about animal agriculture, and many are concerned that it takes away human food supplies and wastes resources. To help answer those questions and educate consumers about the role of animal agriculture, the Council for Agricultural Science & Technology has released a video based on its Issue Paper No. 53, "Animal Feed Vs. Human Food: Challenges & Opportunities in Sustaining Animal Agriculture Toward 2050." Scientific experts address the knowledge gap that exists as to the quantity of human food and fiber byproducts used within animal agriculture. The video offers science-based information about the "feed versus food" issue and provides information that can inform the general public, be useful for students researching animal agriculture and be of value for organizations looking at the impact of using animals as a food source. The video and text of the issue paper are available at www.cast-science.org.
Fermentation model: Alltech announced a new support tool for nutritionists that not only evaluates and troubleshoots dairy rations to maximize feed efficiency and combat rising feed costs but also estimates the amount of energy lost as methane and methane emissions per animal. The In Vitro Fermentation Model (IFM) is a diagnostic tool that simulates rumen fermentation and evaluates the nutritive value of a total mixed ration (TMR) in terms of digestibility and end product formation. Using IFM technology, feed samples are incubated within a standardized rumen fluid and a buffer system to mimic natural rumen fermentation in an oxygen-free environment. IFM then measures gas production, identifies TMR inefficiencies and provides additional information on the nutritive value of the feed. As digestion progresses, volumes of fermentation gases such as methane and carbon dioxide are also continuously monitored using an automated system.
Intranasal vaccine: Merck Animal Health introduced Once PMH IN, the only intranasal vaccine to deliver dual bacterial pneumonia protection in healthy beef and dairy cattle, including calves as young as one week of age. Merck said the vaccine aids in the control of respiratory disease caused by Mannheimia haemolytica and in the prevention of disease caused by Pasteurella multocida — the leading causes of early-onset bovine respiratory disease (BRD). Once PMH IN is a non-adjuvanted formulation with two dosing options: 1 mL applied in each nostril of the animal or 2 mL delivered in one nostril. Because there is no vaccine injection site, carcass quality is not compromised. While annual revaccination is recommended, the vaccine can be administered more frequently, depending on the farm's risk assessment or if the herd faces epidemic conditions, Merck noted; consult a herd veterinarian for specific guidance. Once PMH IN is available in 10-dose and 50-dose packages. To further assist in vaccine delivery, Merck developed new, less-invasive cannula and pump-its, which are available through Merck representatives or veterinarians.