DOT 30-minute rule needs new waiver: During a House agriculture subcommittee hearing on livestock concerns April 30, representatives of the cattle and pork industries expressed concerns over the U.S. Department of Transportation's "30-minute rule," which requires drivers to stop for a mandatory 30-minute rest during each eight-hour shift. Michael Smith of Harris Ranch testified on behalf of the National Cattlemen's Beef Assn. that animals are kept comfortable by air constantly moving through the trailer while the truck and trailer are in motion, which is especially crucial during the heat of summer. National Pork Producers Council president Dr. Howard Hill said DOT did waive the rule for the summer months last year, and the industry had hoped that a two-year waiver would be in effect by now. However, they'll need at least a three-month waiver over the summer months again. "I urge the committee to engage with DOT to ensure that livestock haulers are exempt from this rule," Smith said.
EPA accepting comments on 2,4-D: The Environmental Protection Agency is opening a 30-day public comment period on a proposed regulatory decision to register Dow AgroSciences' Enlist Duo containing glyphosate and the choline salt of 2,4-D for use in controlling weeds in corn and soybeans that are genetically modified (GM) to tolerate 2,4-D. Weeds are becoming increasingly resistant to glyphosate-based herbicides and are posing a problem for farmers. If finalized, EPA's action provides an additional tool to reduce the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds. The choline salt of 2,4-D, which is less prone to drift and volatilization than other forms, is not currently registered for these uses. Glyphosate, however, is already registered for several varieties of GM soybeans and corn. Since no new use pattern and no new exposures for glyphosate are being considered with this registration action, no further assessment is needed for glyphosate, EPA said. After the comment period closes May 30, EPA will review all comments and reach a final decision, which it expects to issue in late summer or early fall.
CHS acquires ethanol plant: CHS Inc. recently announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire 100% of the stock of London-England-based Sinav Ltd., which includes Illinois River Energy LLC, a 133 million gal.-per-year ethanol plant in Rochelle, Ill. The transaction is expected to close in June. "Illinois River Energy is a top-tier ethanol plant well situated in a strategic growth area that will add value to our farmer-owners through expanded grain origination, additional renewable fuel gallons and distillers grain byproducts," said Mark Palmquist, CHS executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Ag Business. CHS markets renewable fuels to energy customers across the U.S. and markets dried distillers grains globally on behalf of more than 20 ethanol plants across the U.S.
WH Group delays IPO: WH Group Ltd. has ditched its initial public offering (IPO) plan to raise $1.9 million to reduce debt incurred after purchasing U.S. pork company Smithfield Foods Inc. for the price tag of $4.7 billion last year. On April 14, WH Group had announced details of the IPO, in addition to the particulars of its proposed listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The following week, it cut back the scope of the IPO immensely, reducing the original offering from $5.3 billion to $2 billion. After negative response from investors, the company decided to delay the IPO without releasing a time table for future actions.
COOL case: On May 19, the entire U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear a lawsuit filed by meat industry trade groups against the U.S. Department of Agriculture's country-of-origin labeling (COOL) scheme. The en banc hearing — all 11 judges presiding — comes after a three-judge panel of the same court ruled in March against several meat and livestock organizations. The groups are arguing that, in promulgating the 2013 COOL rule, the agriculture secretary exceeded the authority Congress granted in the COOL statute and that the rule violates the First Amendment by compelling speech, i.e., labeling of meat. The case was on appeal from a U.S. district court. USDA proposed the latest iteration of the rule in March 2013 after a World Trade Organization panel ruled in 2011 that the original COOL requirements violated the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade agreement. WTO is expected to issue a decision on the complaints in June or July.
Water rule website: In response to the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers recently releasing their "waters of the U.S." proposed rule, the American Farm Bureau Federation has launched a Ditch the Rule website at ditchtherule.fb.org. Focused on topics and analysis related to the water rule, the site includes several sections: Take Action, Go Social, Find Answers and Get Resources. Visitors may also sign up to learn more, comment on the proposed rule and send tweets using the hashtag #DitchTheRule.
Dairy pests: Central Life Sciences announced YourIPM.com, a digital pest management resource for dairy professionals available as a free app for iPad devices. Operation IPM Dairy provides a virtual dairy for visitors to explore, with detailed information on common dairy pests and more than 50 facts and tips outlining best practices for an effective integrated pest management (IPM) program. Visitors can view 11 different areas of a dairy operation and read pest control product descriptions and recommendations specific to the different application sites. The app allows dairy professionals to create a custom IPM program without needing internet access. The application may be downloaded at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/your-ipm-dairy/id798607080?mt=8.
Equine amino acids: Purina Animal Nutrition has introduced SuperSport amino acid supplement, scientifically formulated to support equine performance and overall fitness. SuperSport features an optimal amino acid profile, high-quality protein and added antioxidants to support muscle protection and repair. It also is grain free. Purina developed the proprietary formula on its nutrition research farm, where it demonstrated the ability to support muscle recovery, increase exercise capacity and support muscle development. In a controlled, 56-day study, horses received either SuperSport supplement or an identical level of protein from alfalfa pellets. Horses on the supplement saw significant improvements in measures that are important to equine athletes, including: faster muscle recovery, increased exercise capacity, supported muscle development and maintenance of optimal performance.
Canine products: Kemin has launched two newly reformulated products for canines: Re-Flex Ultra and Protegrity EZ. Re-Flex Ultra was reformulated to combine specific ingredients of Re-Flex 3 and Re-Flex 4 and replaces these products. The new overall balanced formula contains improved tablet durability and increased levels of active ingredients to support joint health and alleviate discomfort associated with normal daily exercise and activity. Protegrity EZ promotes optimum intestinal health by combining proprietary enzymes for normal digestive balance with the same patented Bacillus subtilis PB6 probiotic strain used in Protegrity GI, creating a complete and balanced intestinal formula.