Horse slaughter plant approvals granted: Since Congress has not yet acted to ban horse slaughter inspection, the Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) is legally required to issue a grant of inspection. Both the House and Senate appropriation bills ban funding for horse slaughter inspection. However, Congress lifted the ban on spending for horse slaughter inspection in 2011, which legally obligates FSIS to restart its horse slaughter inspection program. In recent days, the agency has approved applications for horse slaughter facilities at Valley Meat Co. LLC in Roswell, N.M., and Responsible Transportation in Sigourney, Iowa, and is reviewing the application for Rains Natural Meats in Gallatin, Mo. Given that FSIS last conducted equine inspection seven years ago, a significant amount of time was required to re-establish the processes needed, the agency said in a statement. FSIS said due to its stringent inspection process, testing capabilities and labeling requirements, American consumers should not be concerned that horse meat will be labeled and sold as the meat of another species, as happened earlier this year in other countries. In response to the decision, The Humane Society of the United States and Front Range Equine Rescue said they plan to file suit against USDA immediately.
FSMA implementation timeline set: In deciding a suit filed last year by the Center For Food Safety, U.S. district Judge Phyllis Hamilton ruled against the Food & Drug Administration on delays in implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The decision sets a deadline of Nov. 30 for FDA to publish all of the proposed rules mandated under FSMA. Reports indicate that the feed performance standard rules won't be published until late 2013 or early 2014. The judge ordered FDA to ensure that the comment period ends by March 31, 2014, and that the final rules be published in the Federal Register by June 30, 2015.
ADM clears hurdle in GrainCorp deal: Removing at least one major hurdle to Archer Daniels Midland's (ADM) proposed acquisition of Australia's GrainCorp, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission said it would not oppose the sale, which has the unanimous support of the GrainCorp board of directors. ADM's official bidder's statement was dispatched to shareholders July 1; the all-cash offer price of $12.20 (Australian), plus GrainCorp-approved dividends of $1.00 per share, will close Aug. 31. For the deal to come to fruition, at least 50.1% of shareholders must accept the offer, even though the 19.85% stake ADM already holds in the company offsets the 50.1% benchmark significantly. The deal must also pass muster with the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board, as well as with similar regulatory authorities in Canada, China, the European Union, Japan, South Africa and South Korea. In its bidder's statement, ADM confirmed plans to continue operating GrainCorp's ports under current arrangements; to support or invest $300 million of capital expenditures in the GrainCorp business, including supporting strategic initiatives GrainCorp announced late last year, and to invest, on average, $40-60 million annually to maintain and improve existing infrastructure assets.
Harden nominated for USDA post: Krysta Harden, chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Agriculture since 2011, has been nominated to become USDA deputy secretary since Kathleen Merrigan resigned earlier this year. Harden comes to the post with extensive experience in agricultural policy. She served as assistant secretary for congressional relations at USDA from 2009 to 2011 and as chief executive officer of the National Association of Conservation Districts from 2004 to 2009.
Raymond Willner: Raymond C. Willner died June 15 from esophageal cancer. Born and raised in East Baltimore, Md., Willner attended Loyola and John Hopkins College. He served in the military as a flight engineer in the U.S. Navy Air Force during World War II. For 27 years, Willner was manager of Pacific Molasses Co.'s Baltimore location and was also responsible for the mid-Atlantic area. Prior to Pacific Molasses, Willner was employed by Exxon/Mobile and Standard Oil of California. He retired in August 1990 and became a consultant to the molasses and transportation industries. Willner was a founding member of the Independent Liquid Terminals Assn., which he helped lead into what is now a worldwide organization.
Stormwater ruling: In a joint filing July 1, the American Farm Bureau Federation, West Virginia Farm Bureau and West Virginia farmer Lois Alt asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia to determine that livestock and poultry farmers do not need Clean Water Act discharge permits for ordinary stormwater runoff from their farmyards. In April, the court rejected the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to dismiss Alt's case. The lawsuit began in 2012, when Alt challenged an EPA order demanding that she obtain a Clean Water Act discharge permit for ordinary stormwater runoff or face $37,500 in fines each time the stormwater came into contact with dust, feathers or small amounts of manure on the ground outside her poultry houses as a result of normal farming operations. The motion asks the court to rule that EPA exceeded its authority in finding the stormwater to be a Clean Water Act discharge and in ordering Alt to obtain permit coverage. EPA is expected to file its own motion with the court Aug. 1 defending its position. Several environmental groups have intervened on behalf of EPA and will file a brief as well.
DMI claim: Diamond V announced that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration recently granted its Diamond V Original Product the functional claim: "helps support the dry matter intake (DMI) of dairy cows when fed as part of a total mixed ration during the first 70 days of lactation." This makes Diamond V the only company in the category with an FDA-accepted functional claim for DMI, the announcement said. Diamond V explained that increasing DMI during the critical early-lactation phase has many benefits for the dairy cow and contributes to greater dairy profitability.
Milk app: Adisseo recently expanded and upgraded its www.MilkPay.com website and introduced a MilkPay app for Android devices. The MilkPay app for iPhones and iPads was introduced in 2012. The MilkPay website and apps offer a means of calculating the financial impact of balancing dairy rations for amino acids.