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Articles from 2015 In November


EPA increase RFS volumes in final RVOs

Monday the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the final renewable fuel targets for 2015 and 2016 under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The final levels were above the previously proposed levels, but still below the levels called for by Congress in the law. 

The original corn-based ethanol targets under the RFS call for 15.0 billion gallons in 2015 and 2016. Today, the EPA finalized these targets at 14.05 billion gallons for 2015 and 14.5 billion gallons for 2016.

With today's announcement, EPA is two years late in setting the 2014 volume, thus setting the mandate retroactively, after twice increasing the initial proposed volume levels. The first proposed volume was issued in November 2013 set at 13 billion gallons. A revised proposal was issued in May 2015, raising the implied corn ethanol volume to 13.25 billion gallons. Today's announcement retroactively sets the 2014 compliance volume at 13.61 billion gallons. Additionally, the agency is one year late in setting the 2015 volume, also effectively setting this year's standard retroactively and at 14.05 billion gallons, which is 650 million gallons more than the 13.4 billion gallon volume initially proposed in May.

Moreover, the 2016 volume has been increased from the 14 billion gallons provided by the May proposal to 14.5 billion gallons, a level that will break the 10 percent blend wall. 

Janet McCabe, EPA acting administrator for the office of air and radiation, said the levels are ambitious but achievable growth, especially in advanced biofuel levels. Levels do go beyond the “blend wall” levels, but she said the agency had to strike a balance of the law’s intent to increase biofuels but also takes into account real world circumstances that have affected the advancement of next generation fuels.

The final 2016 standard for cellulosic biofuel — the fuel with the lowest carbon emissions — is nearly 200 million gallons, or 7 times more, than the market produced in 2014. The final 2016 standard for advanced biofuel is nearly 1 billion gallons, or 35%, higher than the actual 2014 volumes; the total renewable standard requires growth from 2014 to 2016 of more than 1.8 billion gallons of biofuel, which is 11% higher than 2014 actual volumes.

Ethanol supporters were pleased that EPA at least somewhat improved upon its levels to encourage additional blending.

A statement from Growth Energy said the “numbers for 2016 represent a final rule closer to the statutory levels established by Congress, avoid the ‘reset’ and indicate a more certain future for renewable fuels.”

McCabe confirmed in a media call Monday afternoon that the levels “do not trigger the reset for the total renewable fuel levels,” but it does for cellulosic and advanced biofuels levels.

~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~

Biodiesel growth

Under the new RFS rule, Biomass-based Diesel volumes would grow to 1.9 billion gallons in 2016 and 2 billion gallons in 2017. The Biomass-based Diesel category – a diesel subset of the overall Advanced Biofuel category – is made up mostly of biodiesel but also includes renewable diesel, another diesel alternative made from the same feedstocks using a different technology.

The new standards reflect modest but meaningful growth over recent years when the U.S. market has hovered around 1.8 billion gallons annually. The National Biodiesel Board had requested more aggressive growth to a biodiesel standard of 2.7 billion gallons by 2017, along with additional growth in the overall Advanced Biofuel category.

Where now

It was widely anticipated that one side at least would challenge EPA’s final numbers in court. Ethanol supporters said the action still will have a negative impact on the economy, energy security and the environment.

“In light of the EPA’s decision, we are evaluating our options,” said National Corn Growers Assn. president Chip Bowling in statement. “We will fight to protect the rights of farmers and consumers and hold the EPA accountable.”

American Petroleum Institute president and chief executive officer Jack Gerard said today’s announcement makes clear that Congress must step in and repeal or significantly reform the RFS. Other groups including the National Chicken Council and National Council of Chain Restaurants also called for legislative action.

In a release from the NCC, they stated ethanol has been more expensive than gasoline for several months now, and is projected to remain more expensive well into 2016. NCC president Michael Brown criticized EPA for not accounting for the amount of ethanol that is exported when setting the domestic mandates.

Last year nearly 850 million gallons of ethanol were exported, and through August of this year, exports are running about five percent higher. Combined, 2014 and 2015 ethanol exports are likely to divert the equivalent of an additional 600 million bushels of corn away from feed and food use - in addition to that which is mandated by the RFS.

Final Renewable Fuel Volumes

 

2014

2015

2016

2017

Cellulosic biofuel (million gallons)

33

123

230

n/a

Biomass-based diesel (billion gallons)

1.63

1.73

1.90

2.00

Advanced biofuel (billion gallons)

2.67

2.88

3.61

n/a

Renewable fuel (billion gallons)

16.28

16.93

18.11

n/a

(Units for all volumes are ethanol-equivalent, except for biomass-based diesel volumes which are expressed as physical gallons.)

Final Percentage Standards

 

2014

2015

2016

Cellulosic biofuel

0.019%

0.069%

0.128%

Biomass-based diesel

1.41%

1.49%

1.59%

Advanced biofuel

1.51%

1.62%

2.01%

Renewable fuel

9.19%

9.52%

10.10%

Cargill makes executive leadership changes

Cargill chairman and chief executive officer Dave MacLennan recently announced a new executive leadership team for Cargill globally, designed to streamline and simplify the company’s operations. The previous two-tiered executive leadership structure will be replaced December 1, 2015 by a single Executive Team under MacLennan comprising leaders of the five major business groups (ag supply chain, animal nutrition, animal protein, food ingredients, and energy, transportation and metals) and four functions (finance, HR, business services, and business operations and supply chain). The Executive Team will be responsible for the overall strategic direction for the company and the performance of their business sectors.

“Like any dynamic organization, we are continually reviewing all aspects of our business, including our leadership structure, to ensure that we are well positioned to effectively lead the company’s growth and performance,” MacLennan explained. “There have been a lot of changes in the 150 years since Cargill was founded, and we have always evolved to anticipate market conditions and the needs of the customers we serve. This change is aimed at simplifying our leadership structure and increasing the speed of decision making - agility being critical in today’s fast moving world.” 

Separately, Vice Chairmen Paul Conway and Emery Koenig confirmed their planned retirements from Cargill after 36 and 38 years’ service, respectively. Both have been active in the discussions around the composition of the new executive team and are strong supporters of the direction. Paul and Emery are retiring after long and successful careers at Cargill. Conway will retire effective Dec. 31, after 36 years, and Koenig on Feb. 1, after 38 years. Both leave a lasting legacy for the company. 

Red clover genome to help restore sustainable farming

The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) in collaboration with the Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University, has sequenced and assembled the DNA of red clover to help breeders improve the beneficial traits of this important forage crop. The genome is published in Scientific Reports, a journal from the Nature publishing group.

Before industrial nitrogen fertilizer production, red clover and other legume crops were essential in crop rotation for improving soil fertility. Legumes boost soil nitrate fertility by assimilating nitrogen from the air, recruiting soil bacteria to help — this is considerably more eco-friendly than the equivalent industrial process.

Indeed, environmental concerns and climate change mitigation is putting red clover back in the spotlight. This requires genetic improvements to help boost its performance.

Besides soil improvement, among red clover's chief benefits are to provide a protein-rich livestock feed and to boost omega-3 fatty acids in ruminant milk. Compared to white clover and other legumes, red clover has high levels of an enzyme that causes its' protein to be digested more slowly and effectively by ruminants, TGAC said.

However, currently, red clover only grows well for two or three seasons, and it does not recover well from grazing by livestock. It also does not lend itself easily to traditional crop breeding practices, with severe loss of vigor and fertility if inbred.

An ongoing project at TGAC and IBERS aims to use a collection of diverse natural lines of red clover for breeding new elite varieties more tolerant to grazing, thus making it more persistent, and to understand the domestication process that led to the adoption of red clover as a crop.

For the breeders, this draft genome provides a welcome tool, with which to speed up incorporation of traits that are beneficial for the use of red clover in sustainable agriculture from natural populations of red clover plants sampled from all over Europe. Widening of the genetic diversity of the breeding populations will help to make red clover a more robust and reliable crop.

Therefore, the genome sequence promises to be a valuable platform for advances in studies of traits of biological and agronomic importance in forage crops.

Lead author Jose de Vega, a TGAC researcher, said, "The publication of the red clover reference genome is an important milestone, as it represents the first genome sequence of the clover forage crops, which are key components of more sustainable livestock agriculture.

"The availability of the genome assembly will pave the way towards genomics-assisted breeding methods for forage legumes, and provide a platform for deeper understanding of the genetics of forage crop domestication," he added.

FDA issues draft guidance on VFD common format

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration issued on Nov. 30 a draft guidance for industry (GFI #233), "Veterinary Feed Directive Common Format Questions and Answers" to provide animal drug sponsors who are seeking approval for use of their drug in or on animal feed as a veterinary feed directive (VFD) drug with a recommended common format for a fillable form — called a VFD — that can later be used by veterinarians to authorize the use of the sponsor’s drug in feed.

The draft guidance describes the requirements for sponsor submission of a VFD to FDA as part of the application process for approval of a new animal drug for use in or on animal feed as a VFD drug, as well as the required and optional information to be included on the VFD. The draft guidance also provides examples that illustrate how a common VFD format might appear and how some of the information on the VFD may be pre-populated by a sponsor.

By recommending a common format, the draft guidance is expected to help veterinarians, distributors (including feed mills) and animal producers quickly identify relevant information on a VFD order, FDA said. A common format is also expected to reduce the risk of a veterinarian making an error or leaving out required information when filling in the form.

FDA is accepting public comments beginning Dec. 1. To electronically submit comments to the docket, visit www.regulations.gov and type FDA-2010-N-0155 in the search box. Note that the docket will not be open to accept comments until this date. The comment period will close 60 days after it publishes in the Federal Register.

Ingredient market prices, 11/30/15

Ingredient market prices, 11/30/15

The following prices, which include delivery, were obtained Nov. 24 from feed and grain vendors in the U.S. and Canada. The prices represent current trading values but are not guaranteed. Second column shows the amount of change since the previous week. Prices of certain products can vary depending on the processing method used. N-Nominal. N/A-Price not available.

OILSEED PRODUCTS

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Soybean meal

 

 

(high-protein)

 

 

Atlanta

384.00

-2.00

Boston

N/A

-

Buffalo

338.00

-2.00

Chicago

305.00

-1.00

Delmarva

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC

394.00

-2.00

Ft. Worth

329.00

-2.00

Kansas City

285.00

-

Los Angeles

335.00

-

Memphis

N/A

-

Minneapolis

269.50

3.30

Okeechobee

384.00

-2.00

Portland

341.75

-

San Francisco

335.00

-

Twin Falls

346.00

-4.00

Soybean meal

 

 

(low-protein)

 

 

Atlanta

374.00

-2.00

Boston

N/A

-

Buffalo

334.00

-2.00

Chicago

293.00

-1.00

Delmarva

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC

384.00

-2.00

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Kansas City

285.00

-

Los Angeles

316.00

-

Memphis

N/A

-

Minneapolis

N/A

-

Okeechobee

374.00

-2.00

Portland

N/A

-

San Francisco

316.00

-

Soybean hulls

 

 

Atlanta

199.00

-

Buffalo*

175.00

-

Chicago

150.00

-

Fayetteville, NC

219.00

-

Ft. Worth*

190.00

-

Los Angeles

170.00

-

Minneapolis

100.00

-

Okeechobee

199.00

-

San Francisco

170.00

-

Twin Falls

366.00

-

* unpelleted

 

 

Whole cottonseed

 

 

Atlanta

280.00

-

Buffalo

340.00

25.00

Chicago

316.00

3.00

Delmarva

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC

280.00

-

Ft. Worth

295.00

-

Los Angeles

394.00

-

Lubbock

275.00

-

Memphis

290.00

10.00

Okeechobee

297.00

-

Portland

387.50

-

San Francisco

394.00

-

Twin Falls

380.00

-

Cottonseed meal

 

 

Atlanta

300.00

-15.00

Chicago

315.00

-

Delmarva

300.00

-15.00

Fayetteville NC

300.00

-15.00

Ft. Worth

320.00

-

Kansas City

320.00

-5.00

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Lubbock

290.00

-

Memphis

275.00

-

Okeechobee

310.00

-15.00

San Francisco

270.00

-

Cottonseed hulls

 

 

Atlanta

280.00

-

Chicago

265.00

-

Fayetteville NC

280.00

-

Ft. Worth

205.00

-

Okeechobee

317.00

-

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Lubbock

175.00

-

San Francisco

173.00

-

Canola meal

 

 

Buffalo

269.00

-2.00

Minneapolis

235.60

-

Los Angeles

259.00

-

Montreal

230.00

-2.00

Portland

246.75

-

San Francisco

259.00

-

Twin Falls

255.00

-

Vancouver

190.00

-

Sunflower seed meal

 

 

Fargo

175.00

-10.00

Minneapolis

175.00

-

Linseed  meal

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Chicago

225.00

-10.00

Fargo

200.00

-10.00

Fayetteville NC

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

236.00

-40.00

Kansas City

250.00

-5.00

Minneapolis

200.00

-10.00

Safflower meal

 

 

Los Angeles

N/A

-

San Francisco

145.00

-

ANIMAL BYPRODUCTS

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Meat and bone meal

 

 

(ruminant)

 

 

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

260.00

-

Delmarva

316.00

-4.00

Fayetteville NC

290.00

-10.00

Ft. Worth

230.00

-

Kansas City

260.00

20.00

Los Angeles

295.00

-

Memphis

280.00

-10.00

Minneapolis

260.00

-5.00

Portland

270.00

-

San Francisco

295.00

-

Meat and bone meal

 

 

(porcine)

 

 

Fayetteville NC

300.00

-10.00

Los Angeles

336.80

-

Memphis

290.00

-10.00

Minneapolis

290.00

-

Flash-dried blood meal

 

 

(ruminant)

 

 

Fayetteville NC

725.00

-

Los Angeles

775.00

-

Memphis

700.00

-

Minneapolis

700.00

-

Flash-dried blood meal

 

 

(porcine)

 

 

Fayetteville NC

725.00

-

Memphis

700.00

-

Minneapolis

725.00

-25.00

Poultry byproduct meal

 

 

(feed grade)

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC

300.00

-

Ft. Worth

365.00

70.00

Kansas City

N/A

-

Los Angeles

411.00

-

Memphis

300.00

-

Poultry byproduct meal

 

 

(pet food grade)

 

 

Memphis

450.00

-

Fayetteville NC

450.00

-

Hydrolized feather meal

 

 

Atlanta

340.00

-

Delmarva

342.50

-12.50

Fayetteville NC

340.00

-

Ft. Worth

355.00

-10.00

Kansas City

405.00

-25.00

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Memphis

340.00

-

Minneapolis

420.00

-15.00

Menhaden fish meal

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

1550.00

-

Fayetteville NC

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Kansas City

N/A

-

Memphis

1500.00

-

Minneapolis

1550.00

-

Twin Falls

N/A

-

Blended tuna meal

 

 

Los Angeles

N/A

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

Anchovy  meal

 

 

Los Angeles

N/A

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

ANIMAL FAT, GREASE

 

 

(cents per pound)

 

 

Prime Tallow

 

 

Chicago

23.00

-

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Los Angeles

21.00

-

San Francisco

19.50

-

Yellow grease

 

 

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

22.00

-

Delmarva

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC

19.00

-

Ft. Worth

19.00

-

Kansas City

26.00

-

Los Angeles

20.00

-

Memphis

19.00

-

Minneapolis

17.50

-

San Francisco

18.50

-

Choice white grease

 

 

Chicago

24.00

-

Minneapolis

19.50

-

Bleachable fancy tallow

 

 

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

27.00

-

Ft. Worth

19.00

-

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Minneapolis

19.50

0.50

San Francisco

N/A

-

Vegetable-animal blend

 

 

Ft. Worth

19.50

-

Los Angeles

19.50

-

Minneapolis

17.50

-

San Francisco

19.50

-

Poultry grease

 

 

(feed grade)

 

 

Delmarva

19.00

1.00

Fayetteville NC

17.00

-

Memphis

17.00

-

Poultry grease

 

 

(pet food grade)

 

 

Memphis

25.00

-

Fayetteville NC

25.00

-

GLUTEN, HOMINY

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Corn gluten meal

 

 

Buffalo

582.00

-

Chicago

503.00

-2.00

Kansas City

550.00

-

Los Angeles

565.00

-

Corn gluten feed

 

 

Buffalo

171.00

-

Chicago

120.00

7.00

Fayetteville NC

170.00

30.00

Kansas City

165.00

5.00

Okeechobee

190.00

30.00

Twin Falls

200.00

-

Wahpeton

N/A

-

Hominy feed

 

 

Atlanta

160.00

-

Boston

N/A

-

Buffalo

169.00

-

Chicago

108.00

-

Fayetteville NC

N/A

-

Kansas City

110.00

-

Los Angeles

177.00

-

Okeechobee

N/A

-

San Francisco

177.00

-

Twin Falls

181.00

1.00

BREWERS, DISTILLERS

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Brewers dried grains

 

 

Chicago

N/A

-

Kansas City

N/A

-

Malt Sprouts

 

 

Chicago

150.00

-

Milwaukee

140.00

-

Winona, Minn

140.00

-

Distillers dried grains

 

 

Atlanta

180.00

-5.00

Boston

N/A

-

Buffalo

150.00

10.00

Chicago

125.00

-10.00

Fayetteville NC

180.00

-5.00

Kansas City

110.00

2.00

Los Angeles

182.00

-

Minneapolis

115.00

5.00

Okeechobee

190.00

-5.00

Portland

177.50

-

San Francisco

182.00

-

Twin Falls

190.00

-

Brewers yeast

 

 

(dollars per pound, sacked)

 

 

Chicago

0.75

-

Milwaukee

0.75

-

Minneapolis

0.75

-

ALFALFA

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Dehydrated pellets

 

 

(17% protein)

 

 

Central Nebraska

250.00

-

Buffalo

375.00

-

Chicago

340.00

-

Kansas City

285.00

5.00

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Minneapolis

245.00

-

Toledo

330.00

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

Suncured pellets

 

 

(15% protein)

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

195.00

-

Kansas City

190.00

-

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Portland

270.00

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

WHEAT MILLFEEDS

 

 

Shorts

 

 

Chicago

135.00

-

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Los Angeles

139.00

-

Millrun

 

 

Los Angeles

130.00

-

Portland

150.00

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

Twin Falls

145.00

-

Bran

 

 

Buffalo

137.00

-

Chicago

135.00

-

Los Angeles

134.00

-

Minneapolis

N/A

-

Middlings

 

 

Buffalo

107.00

-

Chicago

115.00

-

Fayetteville NC

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

150.00

10.00

Kansas City

105.00

-5.00

Los Angeles

137.00

-

Memphis

145.00

-5.00

Minneapolis

90.00

-

Okeechobee

N/A

-

DAIRY BYPRODUCTS

 

 

(dollars per hundredweight)

 

 

Dried skim milk

 

 

Ft. Worth

87.00

-

Minneapolis

87.00

-

Dried buttermilk

 

 

Ft. Worth

90.00

-

Minneapolis

90.00

-

Whole whey

 

 

Chicago

21.13

-0.12

Ft. Worth

21.13

-

Kansas City

53.00

-

Minneapolis

21.13

-

Whey protein concentrate

 

 

Ft. Worth

53.00

-

Milwaukee

53.00

-

Lactose

 

 

Ft. Worth

18.50

-

Minneapolis

18.50

-

OATS, RICE PRODUCTS

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Rolled oats

 

 

Chicago

460.00

-

Kansas City

370.00

-

Minneapolis

453.00

-

Crimped oats

 

 

Chicago

415.00

-

Kansas City

290.00

-

Minneapolis

412.00

-

Pulverized oats

 

 

Chicago

140.00

-

Minneapolis

138.00

-

Reground oat feed

 

 

Chicago

70.00

-

Kansas City

50.00

-

Minneapolis

72.00

-

Oats

 

 

(dollars per bushel)

 

 

Buffalo

2.85

-

Minneapolis

2.58

-

Portland*

247.50

-

(*per ton)

 

 

Rice bran

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

185.00

-

Freeport

N/A

-

Kansas City

120.00

-

Memphis

N/A

-

San Francisco

111.00

-

Stuttgart, Ark.

N/A

-

Rice millfeeds

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

100.00

-

Freeport

N/A

-

Kansas City

100.00

-

Memphis

N/A

-

Stuttgart, Ark.

N/A

-

Rice hulls

 

 

Ft. Worth

60.00

-

Kansas City

58.00

-

DRIED PULP

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Citrus pulp pellets

 

 

Atlanta

195.00

-

Fayetteville NC

205.00

-

Okeechobee

160.00

-

Los Angeles*

N/A

-

*(sold wet)

 

 

Beet pulp pellets

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Boise

N/A

-

Chicago

210.00

-

Fayetteville NC

N/A

-

Kansas City

450.00

-

Minneapolis

140.00

-

Portland

175.00

-

Saginaw

160.00

-

Beet pulp shreds

 

 

Mpls (sacked)

315.00

-

Los Angeles*

N/A

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

Twin Falls

N/A

-

*bulk, wet

 

 

GRAINS

 

 

Barley feed

 

 

Kansas City (bu.)

4.40

0.10

Los Angeles (cwt)

10.35

-

Portland (ton)

189.00

-

San Francisco (cwt)

10.35

-

Feed wheat

 

 

Atlanta (bu.)

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC (bu.)

N/A

-

Kansas City (bu)

5.08

-0.05

Los Angeles (cwt)

N/A

-

San Francisco (cwt)

N/A

-

Corn

 

 

(dollars per bushel)

 

 

Atlanta

5.32

0.01

Boston

N/A

-

Buffalo (per ton)

155.00

4.00

Chicago

3.93

0.07

Delmarva

3.34

0.05

Fayetteville NC

5.32

0.01

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Kansas City

3.67

-0.10

Los Angeles*

9.12

-

San Fran (rail)*

9.12

-

San Fran (truck)*

N/A

-

Memphis

3.81

0.00

Minneapolis

3.33

-

Okeechobee

5.55

0.01

Portland (per ton)

166.50

-

(*per cwt)

 

 

Milo

 

 

(dollars per bushel)

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Kansas City

3.62

0.15

Los Angeles*

10.07

-

Memphis

N/A

-

*(per cwt.)

 

 

Ground grain screenings

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Ft.  Worth

465.00

2.00

Kansas City

60.00

-

OTHER

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Almond hulls

 

 

Los Angeles

123.00

-

San Francisco

95.00

-

Bakery feed

 

 

Atlanta

165.00

-

Buffalo

164.00

2.00

Fayetteville NC

170.00

-

Memphis

160.00

-

Minneapolis

159.00

2.00

Feed urea

 

 

Buffalo

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Minneapolis

N/A

-

Salt

 

 

Kansas City

58.00

-

Los Angeles

50.00

-

Cane molasses

 

 

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Houston

147.50

-

Kansas City

195.00

-

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Memphis

N/A

-

Minneapolis

195.00

-

New Orleans

145.00

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

 

Volume:87 Issue:d4

Thanksgiving dinner prices increase slightly

Thanksgiving dinner prices increase slightly

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 30th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicated the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 people is $50.11, a 70-cent increase from last year’s average of $49.41.

The big ticket item – a 16-pound turkey – came in at a total of $23.04 this year. That’s roughly $1.44/lb., an increase of less than 9 cents/lb., or a total of $1.39 per whole turkey, compared to 2014.

“Retail prices seem to have stabilized quite a bit for turkey, which is the centerpiece of the meal in our marketbasket,” AFBF deputy chief economist John Anderson said. “There were some production disruptions earlier this year due to the highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak in the Midwest. Turkey production is down this year but not dramatically.”

Despite the decline in turkey production, retailers feature turkeys aggressively for the holiday, he added. In fact, recent USDA retail price reports showed prices had fallen and were actually lower than last year.

The AFBF survey shopping list included turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10. There is also plenty for leftovers.

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Foods showing the largest increases this year in addition to turkey were pumpkin pie mix, a dozen brown-n-serve rolls, cubed bread stuffing and pie shells. A 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix was $3.20; a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.61; and two nine-inch pie shells, $2.47.

“Despite concerns earlier this fall about pumpkin production due to wet weather, the supply of canned product will be adequate for this holiday season,” Anderson said.

Items that declined modestly in price were mainly dairy items including one gallon of whole milk, $3.25; a combined group of miscellaneous items, including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour), $3.18; a half pint of whipping cream, $1.94; and 12 ounces of fresh cranberries, $2.29. A one-pound relish tray of carrots and celery (79 cents) and one pound of green peas ($1.52) also decreased slightly in price.

The average cost of the dinner has remained around $49 since 2011, AFBF noted, adding that this year’s survey totaled over $50 for the first time.

“America’s farmers and ranchers are able to provide a bounty of food for a classic Thanksgiving dinner that many of us look forward to all year,” Anderson said. “We are fortunate to be able to provide a special holiday meal for 10 people for just over $5 per serving.”

The stable average price reported this year by Farm Bureau for a classic Thanksgiving dinner tracks closely with the government’s Consumer Price Index for food eaten at home. For October, the most recent month available, the food at home CPI posted a 0.7% increase compared to a year ago.

A total of 138 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 32 states. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals, such as spending $50 and receiving a free turkey.

AFBF noted shoppers with an eye for bargains in all areas of the country should be able to purchase individual menu items at prices comparable to the Farm Bureau survey averages. Another option for busy families without a lot of time to cook is ready-to-eat Thanksgiving meals for up to 10 people, with all the trimmings, which are available at many supermarkets and take-out restaurants for around $50 to $75.

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K-State campus approved for unmanned commercial flight training

Kansas State University's polytechnic campus has set a new precedent in the unmanned aircraft systems industry, becoming the first entity in the U.S. to receive approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to provide UAS commercial flight training to both students and outside companies.

The authorization, which is referred to as a Section 333 exemption, allows Kansas State Polytechnic to create and conduct an extensive flight training program for unmanned aircraft operations. Previously, motion picture and television filming and aerial data collection have been given permission for commercial UAS operations; however, the approval has been limited to only training internally and in these two mission-specific areas alone. Kansas State Polytechnic's authorization is open to students both internal and external and is not restricted to any one particular application.

"Kansas State's UAS program continues to be a leader and innovator in the UAS industry," said Kurt Carraway, Kansas State Polytechnic's acting UAS program manager. "Our goal is to produce the most relevant and professional graduate possible, and we can now offer an exclusive flight training program that will take the student experience to the next level. Kansas State Polytechnic is essentially setting the standard on how to educate tomorrow's unmanned pilots."

The UAS program will incorporate the new flight training with current curriculum, building structured discipline that is modeled after the campus's manned professional pilot program. Starting in fall 2016, students will progress through multirotor training and multirotor instructor to fixed-wing operations and finally fixed-wing instructor. They will also focus on integration of components such as autopilots and sensors as well as advanced UAS employment activities.

Students are required to have a private pilot certificate with instrument rating and will have a specific number of unmanned flight hours they have to procure. Just as professional pilot students can become certified flight instructors teaching their peers to fly, once a UAS student reaches a certain rating, he or she can act as an instructor in entry-level flight courses.

"Another distinction of this FAA approval is being able to provide flight training to commercial partners," Carraway said. "For almost every industry there is a UAS application. We're proud to be able to partner with companies and provide them with the tools they need to integrate this technology into their sector while offering rigorous, specialized flight training operations."

Those learning commercial flight training can do so through two avenues that are exclusive to Kansas State Polytechnic. They can train out in the field under the auspices of the nationwide Certificate of Authorization that was included with this FAA approval. Students can also fly on campus inside one of the largest enclosed unmanned flight facilities in the country.

The campus's UAS bachelor's degree program began in 2011 and since doubled in enrollment almost every year. The initial degree focused on flight and operations; in fall 2015, a second bachelor's degree was added in UAS design and integration. Kansas State Polytechnic also is a core member of the FAA Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

"This campus prides itself on providing forward-thinking education and an environment where students learn by doing," said Verna Fitzsimmons, Kansas State Polytechnic's chief executive officer and dean. "By having the opportunity to offer unmanned commercial flight training — something that has never been done before and exemplifies real world application — we are continuing the commitment of this campus's polytechnic tradition."

In October, the campus transformed from Kansas State University Salina to Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus.

EPA pulls registration for Dow's Enlist Duo

The Environmental Protection Agency withdrew its approval of a new weed killer which combines glyphosate and 2,4-D that Dow AgroSciences developed for the use on the next generation of genetically engineered crops.

It has been over a year since the agency approved the herbicide, saying at the time the decision to approve the pesticide would help manage the problem of resistant weeds and their decision “reflects a large body of science and an understanding of the risk of pesticides to human health and the environment.”

Following the approval in October 2014, several environmental groups sued EPA in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on EPA’s decision to register the Enlist Duo pesticide product for use on corn and soybean genetically modified to be tolerant of this pesticide. 

On Nov. 25, EPA asked the court to vacate and remand the registration of the pesticide Enlist Duo “because the agency has received new information from Dow AgroSciences –  the registrant of Enlist Duo – that suggests two active ingredients could result in greater toxicity to non-target plants. Dow had not provided this information to EPA prior to EPA issuing the Enlist Duo registration. EPA has not yet completed its review of the new information,” EPA said in a statement.

EPA said it is seeking a remand because this new information could lead EPA to a different decision on the restrictions for using Enlist Duo. “Specifically, this could result in changes to the width around application areas of no-use buffer zones that EPA imposed to protect unintended plants, including those listed as endangered,” EPA added.

Initially in 2014 EPA put in place restrictions to avoid pesticide drift, including a 30-foot in-field “no spray” buffer zone around the application area, no pesticide application when the wind speed is over 15 mph, and only ground applications are permitted.

Dow said in a statement that it had only heard about the issue the night before but remains confident in the extensive data supporting Enlist Due herbicide. “We are working with EPA to quickly provide further assurances that our product’s conditions of registered use will continue to protect the environment, including threatened and endangered plant species,” Dow said.

“Recognizing the pressing needs of U.S. farmers for access to Enlist Duo to counter the rapidly increasing spread of resistant weeds – and in light of the comprehensive nature of the regulatory assessments already conducted to support the  Enlist Duo registration – we expect that these new evaluations will result in a prompt resolution of all outstanding issues,” Dow said.

The herbicides 2,4-D and glyphosate are two of the most widely used herbicides in the world for controlling weeds. Dozens of other countries including Canada, Mexico, Japan and 26 European Union Members have approved these pesticides for use on numerous crops and residential lawns. In 2013, Canada approved the use of Enlist Duo for the same uses that EPA is authorizing. 

Enlist Duo is a combination of two herbicides - 2,4-D and glyphosate - designed for use in herbicide resistant corn and soybeans. Glyphosate was already widely used on those plants before Enlist Duo was registered; 2,4-D was not.

USDA establishing catfish inspection program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) released Nov. 25 a final rule establishing an inspection program for fish under the order Siluriformes, including catfish. The final rule, which applies to both domestically-raised and imported Siluriformes fish, was developed in order to implement provisions required by the 2014 farm bill. The rule will become effective in March 2016, 90 days after it publishes in the Federal Register.

“FSIS is committed to a smooth and gradual introduction to the new inspection program, which was mandated by the 2014 Farm Bill,” said Al Almanza, USDA deputy under secretary for food safety. “The agency will conduct extensive outreach to domestic industry and international partners so that they fully understand FSIS’ requirements prior to full implementation.”

The March 2016 effective date of the rule begins an 18-month transitional implementation period for both domestic and international producers. On the March 2016 effective date, all Siluriformes fish, including catfish, will be under the regulatory jurisdiction of FSIS and no longer regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Before the effective date of the final rule, countries currently exporting product to the U.S. that wish to continue doing so must provide a list of establishments that currently export, as well as written documentation of their regulatory authority and compliance with existing FDA import requirements.

During the transitional period, FSIS will conduct inspection during all hours of operation at domestic establishments that slaughter and process Siluriformes fish, similar to inspection provided at meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities, while also providing the establishments with close guidance to ensure that they understand FSIS’ requirements. During this time, inspection program personnel will also be assigned to visit domestic Siluriformes fish processing establishments, at least once per quarter, USDA said.

During the 18-month transitional period, FSIS will re-inspect and conduct species and residue sampling on imported Siluriformes fish shipments at least quarterly at U.S. import establishments on a random basis. Also, during the transitional period, countries wishing to continue exporting product to the U.S. after the transitional period must apply for an equivalency determination.

Following the18-month transitional period, inspection program personnel will continue to be assigned to conduct inspection during all hours of operation at domestic slaughter and processing establishments, and at least once per shift at processing-only establishments, which is similar to requirements for other food products that FSIS regulates. Also beginning at the end of the 18-month transitional period, FSIS will re-inspect and conduct species and residue tests on all incoming shipments.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is the public health agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture responsible for ensuring that the nation’s supply of meat, poultry and egg products is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged. Regulations applying to the Siluriformes fish industry are adapted under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, as required by law under the 2014 Farm Bill.

The final rule can be found online at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations/federal-register/interim-and-final-rules.

Transparency boosts consumer trust

Transparency boosts consumer trust

A NEW study from the Center for Food Integrity (CFI) suggests that improved transparency increases consumer trust in the food supply.

CFI's latest research, "A Clear View of Transparency & How it Builds Consumer Trust," offers evidence that transparency builds trust and identifies the most effective practices for building consumer trust.

"Transparency works," CFI chief executive officer Charlie Arnot said. "We have statistical data to show that increasing transparency in farming, food production and processing will increase consumer trust."

The 2015 research focused on areas that are important to consumers, such as:

* The impact of food on health;

* Food safety;

* Environmental impact;

* Human/labor rights;

* Treatment of animals raised for food, and

* Business ethics in food production.

An online survey of 2,000 people explored which attributes are most important to consumers when it comes to trust-building transparency: policies, practices, performance or verification.

"The survey shows an organization's practices are most important in five of the six topic areas," Arnot explained. "Consumers want to know more about what (companies) are actually doing in these important areas. They also want the ability to engage by asking questions through the company website, and they expect straight answers in a timely fashion."

These practices include such things as the information provided on product labels, offering engagement opportunities through company websites, making results of third-party audits publicly available and protecting whistleblowers.

"Practices are a demonstration of a company's values in action, and our research shows that shared values are the foundation for building trust," Arnot said.

"Third-party audits of animal well-being and food safety practices are the minimum level of investment for transparency, but because it's somebody from outside an organization reporting on its performance, a third-party audit doesn't reflect the organization's values and, therefore, is not as powerful in demonstrating transparency," he added.

Transparency boosts consumer trust
Survey respondents were also asked who holds the most responsibility for transparency: food companies, farmers, grocery stores or restaurants.

"This study clearly shows consumers hold food companies most responsible for demonstrating transparency in all six areas (Figure)," Arnot said. "Even when it comes to on-farm animal care, an area one might assume people look to farmers to provide, consumers told us food companies are most responsible. This could lead to food companies requiring more information from their suppliers and reporting more information to consumers when it comes to the treatment of animals raised for food."

CFI has explored the concept of increased transparency for three years and is developing a transparency index to give companies and organizations the tools needed to effectively demonstrate transparency. A beta test of the index was recently conducted by Campbell's Soup, ConAgra, Hershey, Kroger, Smithfield Foods, Tyson Foods, DuPont, Monsanto and Phibro Animal Health.

"We believe in being more transparent because people want assurance that their food is produced responsibly," said Dr. Christine Daugherty, vice president, sustainable food production, for Tyson Foods. "The research by CFI helps us understand what consumers expect and want to know."

The beta test results revealed strengths as well as opportunities for companies to improve when it comes to providing information that's important to meeting consumer expectations on transparency. Companies received high marks for providing information via their websites about the impact food has on health, food safety, the environment and business ethics.

Areas of opportunity include companies' performance in responding to consumer inquiries and providing information about how they have verified their practices. The index will continue to be refined, and specific criteria will be developed for food companies, farmers, restaurants and retailers.

Consumers in the study were also asked if the U.S. food system is headed in the right direction or down the wrong track — the fourth year the question has been posed. Forty percent said it's heading in the right direction, which was a slight dip from a year ago but up significantly from 30% in 2012. Those who believe the food system is on the wrong track dropped by 11% in the last two years.

Survey participants were also asked to rate their level of concern for a list of 12 life issues, including broad areas such as health care costs, unemployment, personal financial situation, global warming/climate change, food safety and food availability.

Two of the top five were food related. Nearly three-quarters rated health care costs as the top concern, followed by the rising cost of food, the economy, keeping healthy food affordable and rising energy costs. Consumers are generally less concerned about most of the top issues than they were a year ago.

CFI's annual survey is intended to help the food system better understand what it takes to earn and maintain consumer trust. Providing insight that increases consumer engagement will help consumers make informed decisions and help align food system practices with consumer values and expectations, Arnot said.

The 2015 CFI research report offers highlights of the research and is available at www.foodintegrity.org. CFI members have access to the full results, as well as guidance for applying the research.

Volume:87 Issue:45