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LEAP launches guidelines on environmental performance of feed additives

LEAP launches guidelines on environmental performance of feed additives

The International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF) has announced the official release of the Livestock Environmental Assessment & Performance Partnership (LEAP) guidelines on the environmental performance of feed additives in livestock supply chains, which were launched Sept. 21 at the LEAP outreach event, “Innovation to Tackle Climate Change & Pollution: Generating Facts about Feed Additives & Livestock Production.”

IFIF is a founding partner of the LEAP guidelines, which aims to improve how the environmental impacts of the livestock industry are measured and assessed. IFIF said it was closely involved in the development of the feed additives guidance document through its expert members' participation in the LEAP Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Feed Additives. It added that the guidelines will further support efforts to reduce the impact of livestock products on the environment.

More than 500 participants from around the world joined the LEAP event, which was opened by the agriculture ministers from Uruguay and Ireland, together with the U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) deputy director general and the LEAP chair for 2020. Professor Ermias Kebreab and Chaouki Benchaar, leaders of the LEAP Feed Additives TAG, presented the final guidelines.

IFIF chair Daniel Bercovici also presented at the event, underlining how “the strong cooperation between IFIF and FAO/LEAP is evident in this partnership, and the IFIF FEFANA Specialty Feed Ingredients Sustainability (SFIS) Project formed the basis of the LEAP Feed Additives TAG, while the Global Feed LCA Institute, of which IFIF is a founding member, is putting the LEAP feed guidelines into practice to support the improvement of the environmental performance of livestock production around the world.”

Bercovici added that “the integration of the science-based standard methodologies under the LEAP guidelines is key to engrave in stone these key scientific advances.”

The guidelines allow for the comparison of scenarios with and without specific feed additives and combinations thereof, supporting the evaluation of their effect in the given situation. The guidelines were developed to be relevant to a wide range of livestock stakeholders, including:

  • Livestock producers, advisors, civil associations and extension agents who wish to develop inventories of on-farm resources and assess the performance of production systems with or without specific feed additives or combinations of additives;
  • Supply chain partners (e.g., feed additive manufacturers, feed producers and farmers) seeking a better understanding of the environmental performance of products in their production processes;
  • Policy-makers interested in developing accounting and reporting specifications for livestock supply chains or in designing agricultural policies, including approval of feed additive uses for specific purposes, and
  • Researchers and scientists interested in understanding the potential environmental impact of new feed additives or relevant technologies under development.

“The livestock sector is a major user of natural resources such as land, water and nutrients and contributes to both greenhouse gases and nutrient loss, the latter often resulting in water and air pollution. Increasing resource efficiency in livestock productions is key in order to alleviate competition for resources with other sectors, drastically curb emissions and prevent water pollution,” the forward of the guidelines states. “As feed additives carry both environmental burdens from their production and environmental benefits from their usage, environmental assessments have often failed to address this complexity. These guidelines strive for a more coherent inclusion of feed additives in environmental assessments of livestock production in order to increase the understanding of the environmental footprint of feed additives and to reveal possible synergies or trade-offs with other environmental criteria.”

As stated, the specific objectives of the guidelines are:

  • To develop a harmonized, science-based approach resting on a consensus among the sector’s stakeholders;
  • To recommend a scientific but simultaneously practical approach that builds on existing or developing methodologies;
  • To promote approaches for assessing the impact of feed additives at the local to global scale by various users and relevant to diverse livestock supply chains, and
  • To leave room for the adaptation of the methodology to specific applications while providing a common framework to ensure a minimum level of harmonization as well as robustness and transparency.

The guidelines are not intended to remain static. They will be updated and improved as the sector evolves, as more stakeholders become involved in LEAP and as new methodological frameworks and data become available.

The LEAP Feed Additives Guidelines can be downloaded at http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/ca9744en.

IFIF is made up of national and regional feed associations, feed-related organizations and corporate members from around the globe that represent more than 80% of feed production worldwide.

COVID-19 devastates ethanol, corn, oil producers

COVID-19 devastates ethanol, corn, oil producers

The COVID-19 crisis created large economic losses for corn, ethanol, gasoline and oil producers and refineries both in the U.S. and worldwide, according to a new study released by economists from the University of Florida and Arizona State University.

“COVID-19 has had a major impact on ethanol production. The producer loss due to COVID-19 is $7 billion,” the authors found. However, the total impact to the oil producer is 40 times the effect on U.S. corn, ethanol and gasoline producers and refineries.

The report notes that COVID-19 caused ethanol prices to fall from $1.30 to 80 cents/gal., with the quantity produced before the pandemic at 16 billion gal. and after COVID-19 started at 12 billion gal. “The producer loss due to COVID-19 is $7 billion. Total revenue falls by $11.2 billion,” the report added.

The estimated economic loss grows to a range of $7.9-8.6 billion when unemployment effects are included. The authors acknowledge that those estimates likely “understate the cost of COVID-19” to the ethanol industry because the impact of the pandemic on co-product output, demand and prices is not included.

Renewable Fuels Assn. (RFA) president and chief executive officer Geoff Cooper said the new study corroborates the findings of an RFA analysis published in July that found that pandemic-related losses could be $7 billion or more in 2020. According to RFA, the study also underscores the importance of ensuring that ethanol producers are not again left out of any stimulus package that may move forward in the weeks ahead.

The price of ethanol fell from $1.15/gal. in December 2019 to 59 cents/gal. between December 2019 and May 2020, at a rate of 0.667. Given corn consumption in the 2019 second quarter, the share of corn used to produce ethanol is set at 0.307 of overall corn production. The decrease in ethanol prices implies a 0.145 decline in the overall demand for corn.

The economists estimated that the price of corn fell 31% with the decline in the demand for corn to produce ethanol. “This results in a loss of producer surplus of $15.46 billion,” the report notes.

The researchers said their estimate of the decline in corn used for ethanol is somewhat larger than what has been predicted by other researchers, including one from the University of Illinois. The overall estimate by the Florida/Arizona researchers of the effect of COVID-19 on corn prices in the U.S. is similar to Beghin and Timalsina (2020), who estimated that corn prices fell from $3.74/bu. in December 2019 to $2.94/bu. in May 2020, representing a 24.1% decline.

Prior to COVID-19, the U.S. produced approximately 16 billion gal. of ethanol per year, with five companies producing 45% of the total U.S. ethanol production: Poet, Archer Daniels Midland, Valero Energy Corp., Green Plains Renewable Energy and Flint Hills Resources. COVID-19 has had a major impact on ethanol production, such that U.S. ethanol sales in 2020 could fall by more than $10 billion (Colombini 2020).

For the week ended April 10, ethanol production was 44% below the same time in 2019, hitting the lowest level since the Energy Information Administration began reporting statistics in 2010. Approximately 70 ethanol facilities with an annual production capacity of 6.1 billion gal. had been fully idled, and nearly 70 more plants reduced their operating rates by a combined 1.9 billion gal. annualized.

Overall, the ethanol industry remains at least 15% below year-ago production levels, while a number of facilities remain idled, and workers have been furloughed or laid off.

According to Cooper, “This new, independent study confirms what has already been made painfully clear to the 350,000 men and women whose jobs are supported by the ethanol industry: The COVID-19 pandemic caused fuel demand to plummet and forced scores of ethanol plants to shut down, resulting in steep economic losses for the industry. While market conditions have improved since the spring, the ethanol industry is still struggling to fully recover from the pandemic, and ethanol producers across the country remain under financial stress.”

October 2020 issue of Feedstuffs available online

The October 2020 issue of Feedstuffs is now available online to subscribers. Among the top stories are:

  • CFAP 2.0 offers additional $13b in aid
  • Germany's ASF finding shakes up pork trade
  • Financial cost of climate risks explored
  • Wildfires burn through millions of acres
  • OSHA issued COVID-19 citations despite many unknowns in time period
  • COVID-19 price tag estimated in trillions
  • Chicken companies face more lawsuits
  • Extensive animal Nutrition & Health section
  • Monthly Ingredient Market prices
  • And more.

Access the October 2020 issue at: https://editions.mydigitalpublication.com/publication/?i=674848

The Feedstuffs Reference Issue & Nutrition Guide, included with the October 2020 issue of Feedstuffs, can be accessed at: https://lsc-pagepro.mydigitalpublication.com/publication/?i=674641

USDA's NIFA invests $53m in building up farmers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA) announced grant investments of more than $53 million across three unique programs for U.S. farmers, ranchers and military veterans to support American agriculture.

“Agriculture offers promising career opportunities, particularly in farming and ranching,” acting NIFA director Parag Chitnis said. “Federal investments in programs that help new farmers get into the business, support military veterans who are considering farming and ranching as a new career and address serious stress-related mental health issues among farmers are critical to ensuring our next generation of food producers are able to successfully meet the challenges facing agriculture.”

While there are many excellent opportunities in agriculture, beginning farmers and ranchers have unique needs for education, training and technical assistance. It’s vital that those within their first 10 years of operation have access to capital, land, knowledge and information to help improve their operations’ profitability and sustainability. NIFA’s Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development Program awarded more than $16.7 million in 48 projects to deliver the support new farmers and ranchers need.

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic caused an increase in stress around the world, stress-related mental health was already a rising concern across farm communities coast to coast. NIFA introduced a competitive grants program, the Farm & Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN), reauthorized by the 2018 farm bill, that supports projects to provide stress assistance for people in farming, ranching and other agriculture-related occupations as a conduit to improve behavioral health awareness, literacy and more favorable outcomes for them and their families.

This year, NIFA awarded grants to four regional entities contributing to the FRSAN. Long term, this three-year funding totaling $28.7 million will ensure that vulnerable agricultural producers and their families have more options for high-quality, affordable help close to home. FRSAN awardees for fiscal 2020 are:

  • $7.187 million for the North Central Farm & Ranch Stress Assistance Center, "Engaging Programs to Support Producer Wellbeing," University of Illinois, Urbana, Ill.
  • $7,164 million for "Building an Inclusive & Comprehensive Network for Farm & Ranch Stress Assistance in the Northeast," National Young Farmers Coalition, Hudson, N.Y.
  • $7,187 million for FRSAN Southern Region – University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn., and
  • $7,183 million for the Western Regional Agricultural Stress Assistance Program – Washington State University, Pullman, Wash.

In addition to opportunities available for military veterans in the Beginning Farmers & Ranchers program, NIFA also offers the Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Program (AgVets). NIFA announced that it is awarding $9.6 million to 17 projects that will equip military veterans with skills, training and experience for careers in food and agriculture and may also offer workforce readiness and employment prospects. Moreover, these investments will strengthen the personal finances of rural military veterans and military families and help grow their communities.

AgVets projects offer on-site, hands-on training and classroom education leading to a comprehensive understanding of successful farm and ranch operations and management practices. The program has supported more than 400 veterans over the last two years, and these new projects will continue to create pathways for military veterans interested in agricultural careers.

Conaway introduces digital commodity legislation

sborisov/iStock/Thinkstock US capitol building in Washington DC against bright blue sky
RURAL MENTAL HEALTH FUNDING: Legislation honors Sgt. Ketchum, who lost his own battle with PTSD after not getting the care he needed when he returned home.

House Agriculture Committee ranking member Michael Conaway (R., Texas) introduced the Digital Commodity Exchange Act of 2020 -- legislation that creates a single, national, opt-in regulatory framework for digital commodity trading platforms under the jurisdiction of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

“The Digital Commodity Exchange Act provides a clear path forward to improve the regulation of digital commodities. Digital commodity trading platforms are currently required to comply with a complicated labyrinth of 53 state and territory regulatory frameworks, hindering the ability for newcomers to enter the market,” Conaway said, adding that his bill “provides responsible federal oversight of trading platforms and critical consumer protections while also paving the way for innovators to develop new digital commodity projects.”

Rep. Tom Emmer (R., Minn.) said, “America is the home of innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit. I am proud to sign on as a co-sponsor of the Digital Commodity Exchange Act to support these foundational principles that our nation should always foster. Digital commodity projects should be encouraged, not hindered, by unclear rules of the road. We are holding our innovators back by not providing regulatory clarity, and ranking member Conaway’s bill will provide much-needed consumer protection while ensuring the growth of these emerging technologies.”

That innovation often outpaces the federal regulatory environment, added co-sponsor Rep. Rep. Dusty Johnson (R., S.D.), who serves as ranking member on the House Agriculture Committee's nutrition, oversight and department operations subcommittee. “The Digital Commodity Exchange Act ensures Americans can have confidence in emerging financial tools. This bill offers necessary protections without stifling the creativity of new market commodity tokens.”

Another co-sponsor, Rep. Austin Scott (R., Ga.), said the legislation will help provide a better understanding of how emerging technologies such as blockchain can promote public policy that fosters, rather than inhibits, the growth of the financial technology (fin tech) sector in the U.S.

Blockchain Caucus co-chair Rep. Darren Soto (D., Fla.), another original co-sponsor of the bill, said, “Regulatory clarity is critical for digital commodity markets to promote innovation and consumer protection. Innovators are spending up to 50% of startup costs on legal fees because of the current regulatory ambiguity between what is a security and what is a commodity. That’s why the Digital Commodity Exchange Act will provide the necessary consumer protections, responsible federal oversight and regulatory clarity for all participating in digital commodity markets.”

Industry groups also offered their support. Jerry Brito, executive director of the Coin Center, said, “This bill is a win-win. Innovators and entrepreneurs get greater clarity and more regulatory options, while investors benefit from increased supervision of markets.”

Kristin Smith, executive director of the Blockchain Assn., stated: “We’re proud to support the introduction of the Digital Commodity Exchange Act and the Securities Clarity Act. Together, these efforts will help clarify outstanding issues related to when and how securities laws and commodities regulations apply to digital assets. Uncertainty over the application of these rules of the road continues to act as a strong headwind for the crypto ecosystem. These bills would do much to clarify the situation and put into law pro-growth policies for the crypto economy.”

“I’m excited by the support this bipartisan legislation has received in Congress and from those in the industry," Conaway added. "I look forward to developing a legal framework and providing clarity for fin tech innovators and strong protections for users of digital commodities.”

The text of the bill can be found here and a summary of the bill here.

Weekly Grain Movement – Corn firms, soybeans slide lower

maki_shmaki/ThinkstockPhotos Two combines harvesting wheat at night.

USDA’s latest weekly grain export inspection report, out Monday morning and covering the week through September 24, held a mixed bag of data – as it often does. Corn and wheat volume increased moderately week-over-week, while soybeans slid slightly lower. All three crops landed in the range of trade estimates.

Corn export inspections tracked 5% above last week’s tally, moving to 31.8 million bushels. That total was on the upper end of trade estimates, which ranged between 25.6 million and 35.4 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2020/21 marketing year are off to a relatively stronger start to last year, nearly doubling the pace of 2019/20 so far at 109.6 million bushels.

Mexico and China topped all destinations for U.S. corn export inspections last week, with 11.9 million bushels and 10.6 million bushels, respectively. Japan, South Korea and Taiwan rounded out the top five.

Sorghum export inspections saw a moderate decline, sliding to 2.3 million bushels last week. China accounted for more than 99% of that total, with Mexico picking up the slim remainder. Cumulative totals for the 2020/21 marketing year have tripled last year’s pace so far, with 12.0 million bushels.

Soybean export inspections saw a modest week-over-week drop, moving to 44.5 million bushels. That tally was within the scope of trade estimates, which ranged between 40.4 million and 51.4 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2020/21 marketing year are moderately outpacing year-over-year totals, with 178.2 million bushels.

China accounted for nearly 73% of all U.S. soybean export inspections last week, with 32.5 million bushels. Vietnam, Mexico, Spain and Taiwan filled out the top five.

Wheat export inspections saw moderate week-over-week gains, climbing to 20.7 million bushels. That was in the middle of trade estimates, which ranged between 14.7 million and 23.9 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2020/21 marketing year are still maintaining a modest lead over last year’s pace after reaching 338.8 million bushels.

As with corn and soybeans, China was the No. 1 destination for U.S. wheat export inspections last week, with 6.9 million bushels. The Philippines, Mexico, Chile and Singapore rounded out the top five.

Click here to review the most recent round of grain export inspection data from USDA.

Cattle placements larger than expected

AndrewLinscott/iStock/Thinkstock Beef feedlot in North Platt-Neb_AndrewLinscott_iStock_Thinkstock-478774626.jpg

The U.S. Department of Agriculture “Cattle on Feed” report showed that cattle inventory in feedlots a with capacity of 1,000 head or more totaled 11.4 million head on Sept. 1, 2020, a 4% increase above the same period last year. This was the highest Sept. 1 inventory since the series began in 1996, USDA noted. Analysts had expected a 3.5% rise over September 2019.

Placements in feedlots came in higher than the average pre-report trade estimate. The report showed that placements during August totaled 2.06 million head, 9% above 2019. Although analysts had anticipated that the report would show a higher placement number, they expected only a 6% increase.

Net placements were 2.00 million head. During August, placements were: 405,000 head for cattle and calves weighing less than 600 lb., 335,000 head for those weighing 600-699 lb., 470,000 head for those weighing 700-799 lb., 522,000 head for those weighing 800-899 lb., 230,000 head for those weighing 900-999 lb. and 95,000 head for those weighing 1,000 lb. and greater.

Marketings of fed cattle during August totaled 1.89 million head, 3% below 2019, which was in line with pre-report estimates.

“Despite the fact that returns for cattle feeders during August were negative, they were still putting large numbers of animals on feed,” USDA livestock economist Shayle Shagam said.

One possible reason for the larger numbers, he said, is the area experiencing dryness in the West, which may have encouraged some producers to place cattle.

Steiner Consulting Group (SCG), in the CME “Daily Livestock Report,” echoed Shagam’s sentiment that dry conditions likely contributed to some of the increase in placements.

“Cattle placements in Kansas were up 100,000 head, or 23% higher than a year ago,” SCG reported. “Drought conditions in western Kanas deteriorated sharply in August, forcing some feeders off pastures.”

Placements in Nebraska were up 13%, which SCG suggested was due to lower-than-normal placement rate in the previous three months.

An improvement in feedlot margins and the availability of cattle that should have been placed earlier this year were also partly responsible for the rise in placement, SCG added.

Meanwhile, Shagam noted that the backlog of feedlot cattle is being worked through, although the percentage of cattle on feed for more than 150 days is still larger than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic emerged.

Report likely to be bearish

Oklahoma State University Extension livestock marketing specialist Derrell Peel said reaction to the latest report is likely to be bearish. However, he said some perspective is important to understand the current feedlot situation.

“Obviously, 2020 has been a strange year, with unusual dynamics,” Peel said. “Despite large placements the past two months, total feedlots placements are down 4.2% for the year to date. Two months of large placements does not mean that we suddenly have more cattle.”

He explained that over the course of the year, the total number of feeder cattle in the pipeline has not changed from what was indicated early in the year.

“Cattle inventories peaked in 2019, and Jan. 1 estimated feeder supplies were down 0.4% year over year. As we work through 2020 and into 2021, feeder cattle supplies should continue to tighten modestly. The indications are that September placements will not follow the pattern of July and August,” Peel said.

However, he said this does not mean that the current dynamics are without consequence.

“While the long-term totals have not increased, the unusual fluctuations in placements imply more short-term dynamics in the next few months,” Peel said.

The higher July and August placements suggest that feedlot marketings will be larger in the first quarter of 2021, he explained, adding, “July placements were skewed to the lighter-weight cattle, while August placements included more heavyweight placements, which further implies that cattle could be somewhat bunched up.”

Since winter weather typically spreads cattle out a bit, he said the exact timing is uncertain, but “the ripples from the first half of 2020 will extend into early 2021.”

Feeding strategies may reduce severity of wooden breast

Howard Shooter/Thinkstock raw chicken breats

For a recently completed research project, Dr. Sandra G. Velleman and colleagues at The Ohio State University investigated the effects of increased dietary omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants on the incidence and severity of wooden breast in chickens, according to information from the U.S. Poultry & Egg Assn. (USPOULTRY) and the USPOULTRY Foundation, which funded the research project.

According to USPOULTRY, data suggest that early diet intervention with antioxidants will decrease the severity of phenotypic wooden breast at market age.

In a project summary, Velleman noted that wooden breast costs the U.S. poultry industry more than $200 million each year due to reduced processing yields and product loss.

She explained that the cause of wooden breast remains unknown, and there are few effective management strategies to reduce the myopathy without sacrificing breast yield.

The objective of the research project was to increase dietary omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants to reduce the incidence and severity of wooden breast, Velleman said. Since wooden breast muscle is under extreme oxidative stress and inflamed, diets were used to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation after hatch to decrease the incidence and severity of wooden breast.

According to Velleman, omega-3 fatty acids and the antioxidant, vitamin E, reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in many tissues and improve gut health and nutrient absorption.

The research explored how these dietary components affect the breast muscle and intestinal health when administered immediately after hatch, which is a very critical timepoint for the development of muscle in the bird, Velleman said.

Three objectives were undertaken in the study: (1) investigate the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids to reduce breast muscle inflammation, improve muscle structure and reduce the incidence of wooden breast, (2) determine if increasing dietary vitamin E reduces oxidative stress and wooden breast and (3) study how supplementing with both omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E affects the onset of wooden breast.

For objectives 1 and 2, Velleman reported that vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids or a combination of both were supplemented during the starter phase or grower phase, and growth performance, meat yield, meat quality and wooden breast scores were obtained.

There was not a significant difference in final bodyweight and meat yield when vitamin E was increased. Furthermore, supplemental vitamin E reduced the severity of wooden breast when added to the starter diets, she said. However, omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in the starter diets significantly decreased final bodyweight, hot carcass weight and chilled carcass weight.

According to Velleman, this suggests that supplementation with vitamin E may reduce the severity of wooden breast and promote breast meat quality without adversely affecting growth performance and meat yield that allows the live chickens to regulate heat by their metabolism and remain comfortable.

To augment the vitamin E effect, objective 3 was modified to include supplementation with alpha-lipoic acid instead of omega-3 fatty acid, which is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects, Velleman said. Immediate post-hatch development through 3 weeks of age was the focus, as this is when the muscle pattern is laid down and wooden breast begins to occur. Diets were supplemented with vitamin E and alpha-lipoic acid independently or in combination during the first 3 weeks of age.

Supplementation with vitamin E and alpha-lipoic acid independently -- or in combination at 2 weeks and 3 weeks of age -- reduced the severity of wooden breast and expression of genes associated with muscle fiber repair, Velleman reported.

She concluded that, taken together from all of the objectives, early diet intervention with antioxidants may decrease the severity of phenotypic wooden breast at market age.

In the long term, studies maximizing the dietary effect will need to be conducted with multiple broiler lines, but if pursued, implementation of a diet with antioxidants could significantly reduce economic losses from wooden breast, Velleman added.

The research was made possible in part by an endowing USPOULTRY Foundation gift from Mar-Jac Poultry and is part of the association’s comprehensive research program encompassing all phases of poultry and egg production and processing.

Kids still drink milk when chocolate milk is pulled

FDS school cafeteria pixabay.jpg

Students in the U.S. consume nearly half of their calories from school meals, providing an opportune setting for improving their diets. Schools across the nation have been removing chocolate milk from their meal programs in an effort to reduce students' intake of added sugar. Some people have expressed concerned that the new policy would lead to a decrease in students' milk consumption and, specifically, reduce the essential nutrients milk provides, such as calcium, protein and vitamin D. They also fear that the policy could lead to an increase in milk waste.

Two past studies, one in Oregon and one in Massachusetts, found that total milk sales decreased or milk waste increased after schools implemented a policy to remove chocolate milk. However, results from a new study by the University of California Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) revealed that while removing chocolate milk modestly reduced students' milk consumption, it did not compromise average intake of key milk-related nutrients.

Researchers collected data on milk selection and consumption during one lunch period in 24 California public secondary schools pre-policy (3,158 students in 2016) and post-policy (2,966 students in 2018). The student population was 38% Asian and 29% Latino, with 63% qualifying for free or reduced-price meals. The researchers used linear mixed effects models to assess changes in milk selection and waste. They also estimated related changes in added sugars, calcium, protein and vitamin D consumed from milk.

According to the researchers, this was the first study to examine the effect of a district-level chocolate milk removal policy on milk selection and consumption among racially/ethnically and socioeconomically diverse middle and high school students.

The research found that the proportion of students selecting milk declined 13.6%, from 89.5% pre-policy to 75.9% post-policy, but the proportion of milk wasted remained stable, at 37.1% versus 39.3%. Although average milk consumption declined by less than 1 oz. per student, researchers observed no significant reductions in average intake per student of calcium, protein or vitamin D from milk. Meanwhile, estimated added sugars from milk declined significantly, by 3.1 g per student, the study found.

The researchers said their results suggest that a school policy to remove chocolate milk may reduce middle and high school students' added sugar intake without compromising their intake of essential nutrients or increasing milk waste.

As such, they recommended that secondary schools consider removing chocolate milk to support healthy beverage consumption.

The study was conducted by NPI affiliated researchers Hannah Thompson and Esther Park from the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health, in collaboration with NPI researchers Lorrene Ritchie and Wendi Gosliner and Kristine Madsen from the Berkeley Food Institute and School of Public Health. The study was published online Aug. 27, 2020, in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

AFBF, NPPC challenge California’s Prop 12

AFBF, NPPC challenge California’s Prop 12

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) jointly filed their opening brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, asking the court to strike California’s Proposition 12 as invalid.

Prop 12 governs housing standards for sows kept for commercial breeding purposes that are “six months or older or pregnant.” It defines confining a sow “in a cruel manner” as confining a sow "in a manner that prevents the animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending the animal’s limbs or turning around freely” and, after Dec. 31, 2021, “confining a breeding pig with less than 24 sq. ft. of usable floorspace per pig.”

Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, Prop 12 prohibits the sale of pork not produced according to California's highly prescriptive production standards and applies to any uncooked pork sold in the state, whether raised there or outside its borders.

Prop 12 imposes arbitrary animal housing standards that reach outside of California's borders to farms across the U.S. By attempting to regulate businesses outside of its borders, California's Proposition 12 violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, according to the brief.

Prop 12 “imposes an enormous and costly burden on interstate commercial transactions, requiring wholesale rebuilding of tens of thousands of sow farm facilities and massive operational changes in how farmers care for their sows,” the filing explained. Additionally, “it achieves no consumer health benefit at all — though that was touted to voters as one of its goals — and far exceeds any right of California to determine what its own citizens eat by regulating as a practical matter how pork is produced nationwide.”

California produces hardly any pork, but residents consume 13% of all the pork eaten in the U.S. As a result, California imports huge quantities of pork raised in other states. It requires the offspring of around 673,000 sows annually to satisfy California consumers’ demand for pork, yet only about 1,500 sows are commercially bred in California, according to NPPC and AFBF.

Currently, less than 1% of U.S. pork production meets the requirements of Prop 12. To comply with the measure, U.S. hog farmers need to start making investment decisions today to be ready by the implementation date, NPPC said.

Most sow farmers — an estimated 72% — care for their sows in individual pens throughout gestation. These pens usually provide the sow with around 14 sq. ft. of space and — for hygiene, safety, animal welfare and caretaking reasons — do not allow the sow to turn around. This reduces sow stress, injury and mortality rates on farms during the critical gestation period; it also protects farm hands, the group added.

The remainder of sow farmers, roughly 28%, keep their sows together most of the time in group pens, which generally provide 16-18 sq. ft. per sow. Almost universally, farmers who use group pens move their sows into individual breeding pens for the 30-40 days between the time a sow finishes weaning a litter through the time she enters estrus (capacity to breed), is re-bred and pregnancy is confirmed.

The Commerce Clause “was included in the Constitution to prevent state governments from imposing burdens on unrepresented out-of-state interests merely to assuage the political will of the state’s represented citizens,” the brief stated.

“If California can condition pork sales in the state on a farm in Iowa raising its sows a particular way, it also can condition the sale of any product imported into California from any other state on the employees who made it having been paid certain hourly wages or having certain employment benefits that satisfy Californians’ moral preferences,” the brief noted.

‘If Californians want to eat only pork produced in a certain way, they can raise their own pork in state and insist on those conditions (and pay more for pork as a result), but the dormant Commerce Clause does not permit them to force their preferences on the industry nationwide and worldwide or, as also results from Proposition 12, on consumers outside California,” the brief added.