House offers pesticide reporting bill: Members of the House Agriculture Committee introduced, H.R. 935, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2013, that ends an extra permit requirement for the application of pesticides that are already federally regulated. The bill would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act to clarify congressional intent and eliminate the requirement of a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for the use of pesticides already approved under FIFRA. Pesticide users currently are required to obtain the extra permit or be subject to a costly fine. Last year, the bill was passed out of the House as well as out of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
Bill eases ag fuel transport rule: Bills proposed in the House and Senate would eliminate a burdensome regulation that requires agricultural professionals to obtain a hazardous material endorsement before transporting the sufficient amounts of diesel fuel necessary for a number of agricultural operations. The bill will make it easier for farmers, custom harvesters and producers to safely transport the fuel they need for a day of fieldwork. Reps. Randy Neugebauer (R., Texas) and Collin Peterson (D., Minn.) introduced H.R. 1026 in the House, and Sens. Pat Roberts (R., Kan.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D., N.D.) introduced a companion bill in the Senate. Currently, Class A commercial drivers can haul only up to 118 gal. of fuel unless they have a hazardous material endorsement, which is costly and time-consuming to obtain. Class B commercial drivers are exempt from these requirements. The bill simply broadens that exemption to Class A drivers, who are more stringently tested. The legislation exempts agribusiness participants from the requirement to obtain a hazardous material endorsement while operating a service vehicle carrying diesel fuel in quantities of up to 1,000 gal. if the tank containing the fuel is clearly marked. Exempted parties include all custom harvesters, agricultural retailers, employees of agricultural cooperatives and businesses and producers who hold a Class A Commercial Driver's License.
Monsanto buys trait development firm: Expanding its trait development capabilities, Monsanto announced March 5 that it had acquired substantially all of the assets, and assumption of certain liabilities, of plant trait developer Rosetta Green. The company develops improved plant traits for agricultural applications using RNA technology and specializes in the identification and use of unique genes to guide key plant processes in major crops such as corn, soybeans and cotton. Formed in 2010 and based in Rehovot, Israel, Rosetta Green's operations in the country will remain intact, and all employees have accepted roles with Monsanto. Steve Padgette, research and development investment lead for Monsanto, said the acquisition will provide an opportunity for new applications of Rosetta Green's RNA technology to complement the company's existing research platforms.
PRRS research awards announced: Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. (BIVI) has announced the 2013 recipients of its annual "Advancement in PRRS Research Awards." This year, BIVI awarded $75,000 to support three separate studies by independent swine researchers and practitioners in their investigations of novel ways to diagnose, control and eliminate porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS). The selected PRRS studies focus on three important areas of disease research: (1) evaluation of electrostatic ionization technology to reduce PRRS infections by Dr. Gil Patterson of the Swine Vet Center, (2) PRRS virus infection in fetal implant sites by Dr. Susan Detmer of the University of Saskatchewan and (3) the effects of PRRS modified live virus vaccination on antimicrobial efficacy by Dr. Locke Karriker of Iowa State University. The PRRS Research Review Board also recommended that additional awards be given to the 2011 recipients whose studies have been completed and the results presented and published. They include Dr. Darwin Reicks of the Swine Vet Center, Dr. Scott Dee of the Pipestone Vet Clinic, Dr. Bob Morrison of the University of Minnesota and Dr. Jim Lowe of Lowe Consulting Ltd. Proposal entries for the 2014 Advancement in PRRS Research Awards are due Jan. 1, 2014. For more information, visit http://PRRSresearch.com.
Vitamin A products: BASF announced March 7 that it is increasing prices for its vitamin A products for animal nutrition by 9.6% globally, effective immediately. Existing contracts will be honored. BASF produces vitamin A for the animal nutrition industry worldwide.
PQA Plus: A total of 57,214 pork producers, contract growers and employees have achieved certification in PQA Plus, the pork industry's animal welfare and quality assurance education program, according to Bill Winkelman with the National Pork Board. In addition, 16,333 farm sites have completed assessments, or compliance, with PQA Plus, covering 74.2% of the U.S. swine inventory, he said in remarks to a board meeting at the National Pork Forum last week.