DHS awards contract for NBAF plant: The Kansas federal congressional delegation and the governor of Kansas announced Feb. 22 that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security awarded the contract for construction of the Central Utilities Plant (CUP), a critical step forward in construction of the National Bio & Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) on the Kansas State University campus in Manhattan, Kan. Construction of CUP is expected to be completed in 2.5 years. It will be a freestanding, 87,000 sq. ft. building on the NBAF site. The decision to build NBAF in Kansas has been controversial because of its risk assessment, proximity to cattle production and soaring costs. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said the contract confirms that DHS is committed to moving forward with construction of the laboratory itself. Sen. Pat Roberts (R., Kan.) said the contract moves the process further along the construction timeline, and he will work to ensure that "NBAF remains a top national security priority." Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R., Kan.) said, "The contract approval by DHS is further evidence that even while our nation looks for significant budget savings, we can still find funds for mission-critical projects, such as those to be undertaken at the NBAF."
Cattle breeding drug pair approved: The Food & Drug Administration announced Feb. 25 the approval of GONAbreed (gonadorelin acetate) to be used with cloprostenol for timed breeding regimens in cattle. The approval is the first in the U.S. of a gonadorelin for use with a prostaglandin to synchronize reproductive cycles to allow for fixed-time artificial insemination in lactating dairy cows and beef cows, FDA said. Gonadorelin and cloprostenol are versions of a gonadotropin-releasing hormone and prostaglandin, which are naturally present in cows and regulate their reproductive cycles. The use of these drugs in timed breeding regimens, along with other management practices, allows farmers to breed cows based on a consistent schedule rather than based on physical observation, thereby improving the efficiency of cattle breeding, FDA said. GONAbreed is manufactured by Parnell Technologies Pty. Ltd. in Australia and distributed by its Kansas City, Kan., location.
CME, Deutsche Borse in talks: CME Group Inc. has started talking with Deutsche Borse A.G. about a possible combination, although discussions have not approached formal merger negotiations, and Deutsche Borse has said it is focused on organic growth and isn't interested in a merger, according to published reports. CME had proposed a merger with NYSE Euronext last year, but that exchange chose to merge with Intercontinental Exchange instead. Deutsche Borse had itself proposed to merge with NYSE Euronext, but the proposal was blocked by European regulators.
USDA food security research grants: The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced more than $75 million in grants for research, education and extension activities to ensure greater food security both in the U.S. and around the world. Teams at 21 U.S. universities received the awards to conduct research that will find solutions to increasing food availability and decreasing the number of food-insecure individuals. Awards went to: South Dakota State University to examine community efforts to encourage healthy food choices; Purdue University to develop new strategies to defend against ear rot diseases in corn; the University of Tennessee to identify ways to improve milk quality and enhance the sustainability of the dairy industry in the Southeast, and the University of California-Berkeley to work with tribal groups in the Klamath Basin in Oregon and California to build sustainable regional food systems that enhance tribal health and food security.
Niacin price: Lonza announced March 1 a worldwide price increase of 9% for its Niacin feed grade and Niacinamide feed grade products. Lonza said the price increase will come into immediate effect for non-contract customers or as existing commitments permit.
BPA ban: New Jersey lawmakers have introduced a bill that would ban the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in beverage and food containers intended for use by babies and infants, citing studies that cast concern about the effects of BPA exposure on the behavioral and neural development of babies and young children. The proposal runs counter to the findings of the Food & Drug Administration and Health Canada that BPA does not pose any real risk to consumer health (Feedstuffs, Oct. 15, 2012).
BPA study: A toxicologist at the U.S. Department of Energy laboratory in Richland, Wash., has reviewed more than 150 studies about the effect of bisphenol A (BPA) on human health and concluded that exposure levels are generally "much too low" to affect the human body. The research was funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. BPA is used in beverage and food containers and many other consumer goods to harden plastics from which they are made and to prevent the growth of germs, according to experts in the field.
Verdesian buys: Verdesian Life Science LLC announced that it has acquired Northwest Agricultural Products LLC, which specializes in eco-friendly products that meet the diverse needs of agriculture through biological and chemical innovation, with an emphasis on plant health and crop yields. It represents "an important next step" in Verdesian's growth strategy and underscores "our strategic focus on plant health and nutrition technologies," Verdesian chief executive officer JJ Grow said. Terms of the acquisition were not released.
Sugar cents: A group of Rhode Island lawmakers has proposed a bill that would impose a statewide penny-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. The tax would not apply to alcoholic beverages, 100% fruit or vegetable juices, infant formula and milk. A similar measure has been proposed by Vermont legislators.
CME dividend: The board of directors of CME Group Inc. has approved a cash dividend of 45 cents per share on the company's common stock, payable March 25 to holders of record March 8.
Productivity enhancer: Canadian Bio-Systems Inc. announced that its new Maxi-Gen Plus -- now available in both the U.S. and Canada -- is a unique formulation that delivers a range of productivity and performance benefits while offering a viable alternative to traditional growth-promoting products. Maxi-Gen Plus features a source of conditionally essential nutrients for young swine and poultry. Research conducted with the product showed that it stimulates intestinal development and improves immune system response, average daily gain and feed intake while enhancing nutrient absorption and gut health, the announcement said.
Pain relief: Boehringer Ingelheim announced that it has obtained European Union-wide marketing authorizations for its Metacam (meloxicam) for use as an analgesic to relieve pain following dehorning in calves. Already licensed for this indication in Canada, Boehringer Ingelheim said meloxicam now is the first non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug specifically approved and available in the EU for the relief of dehorning pain in calves.