China approves new egg standards: China has passed a national standard for liquid eggs and egg powder. The two standards were sent to the Standardization Administration of China for approval. They are expected to be implemented sometime this year. China's General Chamber of Commerce organized experts from related industries to form a drafting team in 2010. After several drafting meetings and two requests for comments online, the draft went to a final reading in October 2013. The International Egg Commission standard of egg products was used as reference for the draft of China's national standards. Several parameters were set according to the real situation of egg farming and egg processing in China. China did not previously have a national standard for liquid eggs, but the egg processing industry has grown rapidly during the past 10 years, and the egg industry welcomed this initiative.
Bill limits EPA release of producer info: Reps. Rick Crawford (R., Ark.), Lee Terry (R., Neb.), Mike McIntyre (D., N.C.) and Jim Costa (D., Cal.) introduced legislation March 6 to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from disclosing the private and confidential information of livestock and poultry producers to the public. The Farmer Identity Protection Act (H.R. 4157) comes in response to EPA releasing livestock and poultry producers' names and other personal information to three radical environmental groups through a Freedom of Information Act request last February and again in April 2013. The release divulged information on more than 80,000 producers in 29 states. EPA has plans to release information on thousands more farmers and ranchers in the future. H.R. 4157 is the companion bill to the Senate's S. 1343 introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) and Joe Donnelly (D., Ind.) in July 2013.
Good records crucial after disasters: Livestock producers affected by natural disasters such as drought in the West and the unexpected winter storm in the Upper Midwest need to keep thorough records, Farm Service Agency (FSA) administrator Juan Garcia urged. FSA recommends that owners and producers record all pertinent information of natural disaster consequences, including: documentation of the number and kind of livestock that have died (supplemented by photographs or video records, if possible); dates of death, supported by birth records or purchase receipts; costs of transporting livestock to safer grounds or moving animals to new pastures; feed purchases if supplies or grazing pastures are destroyed; crop records, including seed and fertilizer purchases, planting and production records; pictures of on-farm storage facilities that were destroyed by wind or flood waters, and evidence of damaged farmland. USDA expects to begin signups for the new disaster programs by April 15.
Senators seek PEDV disaster aid: Sens. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.) and Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) last week urged Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to approve disaster assistance for small pork producers affected by the deadly porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV). The virus has killed more than 4 million pigs nationwide since April 2013 and has significant implications for the agricultural economy. No vaccine or treatment for PEDV currently exists. The 2014 farm bill permanently extends critical livestock disaster assistance programs that could help producers in the 27 affected states cope with PEDV and manage its spread. "Pork producers that have been impacted by PEDV face economic devastation. ... If this disease persists, pork herds will continue to diminish, and producers risk going out of business," the senators wrote. Additionally, they asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to increase research for a vaccine and other interventions to address PEDV.
CFTC roundtable: Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) staff will hold a public roundtable April 3 to discuss issues concerning end users and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act. CFTC has received a number of comments and requests for clarification from commercial end users affected by Dodd-Frank. The roundtable will consist of three panels discussing: (1) the obligations of end users under Regulation 1.35 concerning recordkeeping for commodity interest and related cash or forward transactions, (2) the appropriate regulatory treatment of forward contracts with embedded volumetric optionality and (3) the appropriate regulatory treatment for purposes of the $25 million (special entity) de minimis threshold for swap dealing to government-owned electric utilities. The meeting time will be announced closer to the meeting date.
Phibro IPO: Phibro Animal Health Corp. announced March 10 that it has publicly filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the Securities & Exchange Commission relating to a proposed initial public offering (IPO) of its common stock. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined. According to the announcement, the Bendheim family is not selling any shares in the IPO and will remain in control of the company. Phibro's minority stockholder, Mayflower Ltd. Partnership, managed by 3i Investments PLC, will be a selling stockholder in the offering, and newly issued shares will also be sold by the company, which intends to use net proceeds from the IPO to repay certain outstanding debt, to pay related fees and expenses and for general corporate purposes, Phibro said. Phibro is a diversified global developer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of animal health and mineral nutrition products for poultry, swine, cattle, dairy and aquaculture production.
Cattle block coating: Ridley Block Operations recently introduced WeatherAll Protection to the BioBarrel, a patented, biodegradable, environmentally friendly, single-trip container of CRYSTALYX Brand Supplements. The BioBarrel is made from a proprietary blend of ground cereal straw and wood fiber coated with a soy flour solution that is pressed and molded. It is made of 100% renewable materials. Ridley Block said no chemicals or adhesives are used to make the container, and it is designed to degrade as livestock consume the CRYSTALYX low-moisture block. With the addition of WeatherAll Protection, the BioBarrel now offers added weather protection in extended wet conditions. WeatherAll is a protective coating applied to the BioBarrel as a final step in the manufacturing process. A patent-pending process helps protect and slow down BioBarrel degradation when encountering wet conditions, the announcement said. The protective coating also helps reduce the attraction some cattle have to the BioBarrel container once it is softened under extreme wet conditions, thus reducing the incidence of cattle consuming the container faster than the CRYSTALYX product.
Intranasal vaccine: Merck Animal Health introduced Once PMH IN, an intranasal vaccine that delivers dual bacterial pneumonia protection in healthy beef and dairy cattle, including calves as young as one week of age. Once PMH IN 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. Studies have demonstrated that young calves given an intranasal administration of Once PMH IN performed better on body temperature and weight gain measures compared to calves given a commercial subcutaneous pasteurella vaccine. Once PMH IN is a non-adjuvanted formulation with two dosing options: 1 mL applied in each nostril of the animal or a 2 mL dose delivered in one nostril. Once PMH IN is available in 10-dose and 50-dose packages. To further assist in vaccine delivery, Merck Animal Health has developed new less-invasive cannula and pump-its.
Poultry vaccine: Zoetis has obtained a conditional license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to market the first commercially available vaccine for helping reduce disease caused by the Georgia 08 variant of infectious bronchitis virus in poultry. The vaccine is now available in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee. USDA agreed to issue a conditional license because the modified-live vaccine fills a special need, has been shown to be safe and has demonstrated a "reasonable expectation of efficacy" against the target pathogen. Zoetis plans to submit additional efficacy studies of the vaccine in order to pursue a full USDA license.
Drought bill: The President signed the National Integrated Drought Information System Reauthorization Act into law March 6. The bipartisan bill easily passed the House with a 356-21 vote and passed via unanimous consent in the Senate. This legislation ensures that the federal government can continue to provide timely, effective drought warning forecasts and vital support to communities that are vulnerable to drought. The bill will require the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration director to report to Congress on how the government can reduce problems stemming from drought more quickly, and it calls for the creation of an early-warning system.
Renewable chemicals: Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) announced that it has committed to a $25 million equity investment in privately held Rennovia Inc., which develops catalysts and processes for the cost-advantaged production of chemical products from renewable feedstocks. "This investment is part of ADM's ongoing efforts to enhance returns by strengthening our portfolio of higher-margin products," said Kevin Moore, ADM vice president, Renewable Chemicals. "There is significant and growing demand for chemical products made from renewable feedstocks. We are impressed with the technology Rennovia is developing and look forward to the opportunity for its products to join our current portfolio of renewable chemicals — like propylene glycol and ethylene glycol — as they offer increased access to attractive end markets in nylons and other materials." Founded in 2009, Rennovia targets production of existing high-value chemical products using scalable chemical catalytic process technologies at significant cost advantages to current petrochemical processes. Its first products were nylon intermediates adipic acid and hexamethylenediamine. ADM's investment will be used for research and development programs and continuing operations.