Vet mobility bill clears House committee: The House Energy & Commerce Committee unanimously passed the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act of 2013 (H.R. 1528), which clears the way for the bill to be considered by the full House. Reps. Kurt Schrader (D., Ore.) and Ted Yoho (R., Fla.) introduced the bill to amend the Controlled Substances Act and permit licensed veterinarians to transport and dispense controlled substances at the treatment site rather than being restricted solely to the veterinarian's principal place of business. The Senate passed a companion bill (S. 1171) sponsored by Sens. Angus King (I., Maine) and Jerry Moran (R., Kan.).
Canada's food animal antibiotic policy: In an April 11 statement, Health Canada's Veterinary Drugs Directorate (VDD) said it is now moving forward, in collaboration with the Canadian Animal Health Institute, to remove growth promotion/production claims of medically important antimicrobial drugs from food animal production. They will also work on developing options to strengthen the veterinary oversight of antimicrobial use in food animals. Similar measures are being implemented in the U.S. over an anticipated three-year transition period, VDD said, noting that it will continue to collaborate and align, to the extent possible, with the U.S. for an efficient transition for all involved parties over the same time period. VDD said it has been engaging provincial/territorial authorities, the pharmaceutical industry, veterinarians, food animal producers and other stakeholders to promote the judicious use of medically important antimicrobial drugs in food animal production.
Post to acquire Michael Foods: Post Holdings Inc. intends to acquire Michael Foods Inc. and its related entities for $2.45 billion, according to an announcement. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2014, subject to customary closing conditions. Michael Foods, which is currently owned by an investor group, is a leading packaged goods company that provides value-added food products and service solutions to customers in the foodservice, retail and food ingredient channels. The company holds leading market positions in each of its three segments and produces a broad range of value-added egg products, potato products and cheese and dairy case foods. Jim Dwyer, chairman and chief executive officer of Michael Foods, said, "We believe our business will benefit from Post's portfolio management approach and from our continued focus on the breakfast daypart, expanding egg consumption to all dayparts and delivering convenient meal and snack choices to consumers." According to Post, Michael Foods will continue to operate independently under the leadership of Dwyer and the current management team.
AMI, NAMA to proceed with merger: During a special membership meeting last week, American Meat Institute (AMI) general members voted unanimously to proceed with a merger with the North American Meat Assn. (NAMA). The vote is the last step necessary to finalize the merger, which is slated to occur Jan. 1, 2015. "The general membership's unanimous vote today makes possible the formation of a new and stronger organization (that's) well-positioned to meet the challenges of the future," AMI chairman Greg Benedict said. "Our two organizations now will create a transition committee to begin the process of merging our two organizations' operations and governing structure. This is a positive development and one that stands to serve our industry well." AMI's board had voted April 2 to proceed with the merger, and NAMA's board voted in favor of the merger March 22.
James McKean: Dr. Jim McKean passed away April 10 in Ames, Iowa. McKean has been Iowa State University's swine extension veterinarian since August 1974 and was named a university professor in 2000 in recognition. He received his veterinary degree from the University of Illinois in 1970, a master's degree in veterinary pathology from Michigan State University in 1973 and the Juris Doctor degree from Drake University in 1988. As swine extension veterinarian, McKean influenced essentially all aspects of Iowa and U.S. pork production. McKean was highly involved in organizations such as the Iowa Pork Producers Assn., Iowa Veterinary Medical Assn., American Veterinary Medical Assn., American Association of Swine Veterinarians, National Pork Board, National Institute for Animal Agriculture, U.S. Animal Health Assn. and others, also serving as president of several. McKean was well known for his leadership in eradicating pseudorabies virus from the U.S. pork industry in 2004 and ongoing efforts to initiate an eradication program for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus. Prior to his sudden passing, McKean was well into the process of designing strategies for eradicating porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, which was first found in the U.S. last spring.
BASF citral plant: BASF announced April 15 that it is lifting its declaration of "force majeure" with respect to citral-based aroma chemicals as well as vitamin A and vitamin E products for human and animal nutrition. BASF said its citral plant had to be shut down after a fire on March 12, and the company consequently had to declare force majeure. BASF was able to stay within the announced shutdown period of four weeks from March 19. Product supply will normalize within the framework of delivery lead times and respective inventory levels, BASF said.
Feed institute: The American Feed Industry Assn. (AFIA) will host the Feed Industry Institute June 16-19 in Minneapolis, Minn. The conference — AFIA's oldest standing event — is held once every two years and is sponsored by the organization's Purchasing & Ingredient Suppliers Conference Committee. This year's theme is "Your Path to Understanding the Feed Industry." The program is designed for individuals new to the feed industry. The feed institute provides attendees with an educational forum to learn about the feed and ingredient industry from industry experts. Topics slated for this year's agenda include "Water Soluble & Fat Soluble Vitamins," "Connecting the Disconnect" and "Animal Proteins & Use of Antioxidants."
Joining operations: River Country Cooperative, a diversified agricultural retailer based in South St. Paul, Minn., and CHS Inc., the nation's leading farmer-owned cooperative, have completed their study of a formal business merger between the two and will move the process forward, pending further due diligence. River Country's membership will vote on the proposed business agreement this summer. "The business is solid today, but our customers' needs are changing, and we want to grow our size and scale to meet those needs," said Myron Tank, chairman of the River Country board. "We looked at a number of different ways to do that and determined CHS would be the best partner to align with for the future." In business since 1935, River Country is a full-service supplier of fuel, fertilizer, grain and feed products and services to customers from 14 locations in east-central Minnesota.
Consulting firm: Farrish & Associates LLC recently formed its headquarters in Kansas City, Mo. The new firm is led by Bert Farrish, a veteran of the grain, grain processing, biocomposites and biofuel industries. "We are excited by the opportunities that global agriculture presents today," Farrish said. "We are confident we can leverage our experience across the spectrum in agriculture to assist firms and organizations in improving performance and creating forward-looking strategies." Farrish has an agricultural engineering and business degree from Mississippi State University and is active in the Grain Elevator & Processing Society and the Kansas City Agri-Business Council. Farrish & Associates can be contacted at [email protected]
Argentina terminal: CHS announced that it has acquired 29.45% ownership of Sitio 0, a greenfield export terminal at Necochea in Argentina. South American grain companies E-Grain, Alejandro Nari, Alea and Lartirigoyen are the other owners of the terminal, which is expected to be operational by May 2015. CHS will use the terminal to load soybeans, corn, wheat, sorghum, barley and soybean meal. "Investing in this port on behalf of our farmer-owners further ensures market access to growing demand from customers in China and across the Asia-Pacific region," said Ignacio Bosch, general manager, CHS Argentina. "Necochea's Sitio 0 terminal is a deepwater port capable of loading post-Panamax size vessels at a rate of 1,200 metric tons per hour, along with 119,000 metric tons of storage capacity." Mark Palmquist, CHS executive vice president and chief operating officer, Ag Business, said the Necochea terminal will improve overall export logistics and will decrease load times and waiting for vessels.
Cargill expansion: Within the next month, expansion is set to begin at Cargill's Morris, Man., farm service center. The expansion will include increases to both rail capacity and grain storage. The expansion will increase grain storage an additional 20,000 metric tons for a total of 30,000 mt. Railcar handling will increase from the current 54 cars to 100, which, following this past year's record grain crop, is critical, the announcement said. With the expansion, Cargill anticipates increasing the number of on-site employees. Construction is expected to be completed in time for the 2015 harvest.
Pellet patent: Pellet Technology USA (PTUSA) announced that the U.S. Patent Office has awarded it a patent that covers the process of using agricultural residue biomass to produce feed for the livestock industry. The patent, No. 8,551,549, is for a process to create feed pellets from agricultural residues such as corn stover or wheat straw. The patent covers one of the technologies in PTUSA's process for creating feed pellets from agricultural residue. It further covers the harvesting, baling, shredding, grinding and processing components. This patent allows PTUSA to distinguish itself from other residue treatments due to the specific manufacturing requirements necessary to produce a consistent finished feed.
Footbath products: Zoetis announced the addition of HOOF-TEC footbath products to its Dairy Wellness portfolio. For producers looking to reduce copper sulfate use in footbaths, HOOF-TEC products allow them to run more efficient footbaths by reducing copper sulfate use as much as 40%. The HOOF-TEC footbath product line includes a variety of options for flexibility on dairy operations, including: HOOF-TEC 1000 Footbath Concentrate, HOOF-TEC Complete all-in-one footbath solution, HOOF-TEC Copper-Shot Topical Spray footbath in a bottle, HOOF-TEC Organic Footbath Concentrate (OMRI-certified) with the same benefits of HOOF-TEC 1000 Footbath Concentrate, HOOF-TEC Organic Topical Spray (OMRI-certified) with the same management options as HOOF-TEC Copper-Shot Topical Spray and HOOF-TEC Copper-Cutter Dry Mix and HOOF-TEC Copper-Free Dry Mix, powders to replace traditional copper sulfate.
Xylanase product: BioResource International Inc. (BRI) announced the launch of Xylamax, its latest high-performance enzyme created to help producers economically deliver more meat in a safe and sustainable way. Xylamax is an intrinsically thermo-stable 1,4-beta-xylanase enzyme that delivers consistently high levels of energy release and improved digestibility in animal feed, BRI said. Xylamax breaks down non-starch polysaccharides in grain cell walls, activating the release of valuable nutrients for digestion by the animal's natural enzymes, BRI explained. Xylamax also reduces the viscosity of intestinal contents by more than 50%, which accelerates nutrient digestion. These combined actions optimize energy availability to the animal, resulting in improved growth and gut health, according to the announcement. To assist producers with in-field use of Xylamax, BRI has also developed XylaQuick, a qualitative in-feed colorimetric kit that allows easy, fast on-site testing of the Xylamax enzyme activity within feed. XylaQuick is available exclusively with the purchase of Xylamax. BRI's products are available through global and regional animal feed distributors.