USDA to study ag coexistence: The U.S. Department of Agriculture has published a notice in the Federal Register asking for public comments on how agricultural coexistence in the U.S. can be strengthened. After court cases that halted the planting of new genetically modified crops, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has spent years working to bring interested parties together to make coexistence work, particularly in the areas of stewardship, contracting and attention to gene flow. "As we seek to improve cooperation among those involved in diverse agricultural systems, we are interested in hearing what practices and activities are available or in use and how USDA can help make coexistence work for everyone involved," USDA said in a blog. USDA said it aims to learn more about local, voluntary solutions to coexistence challenges, examples of effective coexistence practices and how such information and resources could be used in a variety of ways to support coexistence. The deadline to submit comments is Jan. 3, 2014. Comments can be submitted online at www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2013-0047-0001. Once the comment period closes, USDA said it will review all information and feedback and will plan a future workshop to explore possible next steps.
NAHMS plans for equine survey: The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) is planning for the "Equine 2015" study, its third national study of the equine industry. The survey is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2015. NAHMS announced that stakeholder input will be collected throughout the remainder of 2013 to help determine the objectives of the study. Stakeholders and industry representatives can provide input on specific information that would be valuable by completing a five-minute survey by Dec. 31 at www.surveymonkey.com/s/NAHMS_Equine2015_I. Results of previous NAHMS studies of the equine industry are available at http://nahms.aphis.usda.gov. Comments can be directed to Dr. Josie Traub-Dargatz at (970) 494-7261 or Josie.Traub-Dargatz@aphis.usda.gov.
King bill wouldn't nullify state laws: In a Nov. 14 Politico event, Rep. Steve King (R., Iowa) took the opportunity to clarify the importance of his farm bill amendment, which has come under attack from animal rights groups. He said his amendment would restore regulation of interstate commerce to Congress, not to the states. It's okay to overregulate producers in your own state, but not other states, which acts as a tariff barrier, he explained. Although groups allege that his amendment would nullify 176 state laws on production practices, King said that is "not true." The only one he's confident would be overturned is California's law mandating production practices for out-of-state egg producers. Michigan's law on egg production standards may also need to be overturned if his amendment passes. "The language is solid," King said, and if it wasn't, he'd be hearing more from states, the Food & Drug Administration or state veterinarians. He said in the conference committee he hopes legislators can get "down to facts" and let the Constitution and truth prevail.
Heiskell completes acquisition: J.D. Heiskell & Co. announced that it completed the acquisition of Dairy Feed Supply (DFS) from its owners, brothers Brent and David Funk. The Twin Falls, Ida.-based feed and commodity business was founded in 2001 to serve local dairy operators with rolled grains, feeds and feed supplements. The production facilities include two grain rolls fired by a 150 hp boiler as well as two 150,000 bu. tanks and other grain and commodity storage. "Adding the DFS business assets to our portfolio of businesses here in the Northwest will allow us to expand our current volumes and offerings to the livestock feeders in the area," said Todd Gearheart, general manager for Heiskell's Northwest Business Group. "We hope to use this facility to enhance the efficiencies at our production facilities, in addition to supplementing the receiving points and storage capabilities available to our grain origination programs."
Robert Hammond: Robert L. Hammond, 87, died Nov. 5 in Rochester, Minn. Hammond worked for his father in Cresco, Iowa, before going to work for Archer Daniels in Minneapolis, Minn. In 1948, he moved to Estherville, Iowa, to work for Golden Sun Feeds. Hammond, his father and brother-in-law Roy Stroud started Hammond Oil Co. in 1952. Hammond went back to work for Golden Sun Feeds in 1961, serving as president from 1974 to 1988 and as chairman from 1988 to 1991. Hammond was involved in the American Feed Industry Assn., where he was a director and served as chairman in 1986-87.
Vitamin prices: On Nov. 13, BASF announced price increases for its vitamin E and vitamin A products for animal nutrition globally, with immediate effect. Prices will increase by 15% for all vitamin E products and by 10% for all vitamin A products, BASF said, noting that existing contractual obligations with customers will be honored.
Niacin price: DSM announced Nov. 15 that the price of its ROVIMIX Niacin will be increased by 8% with immediate effect for non-contracted business.
Wet mill plant: Cargill announced that it has begun operating its corn wet mill ethanol plant in Ft. Dodge, Iowa. Cargill purchased the idled facility from Tate & Lyle in 2011. "When full production capacity is reached, the plant will consume 150,000 bu. of corn a day and turn out five products, including dextrose, ethanol and SweetBran feed for cattle," said facility manager Al Viaene with Cargill Corn Milling North America. The corn wet mill ethanol plant will provide the base-load corn grind for the campus and will also support additional business growth in the coming years. When completed, Ft. Dodge will be a world-class biorefinery campus that will produce ethanol and other bio-based products, Cargill said.
New name: CHS Insurance Services LLC is the new name for Ag States Group, the largest U.S. agribusiness insurance broker providing a full line of property/casualty insurance, surety bond products, group benefits, loss control and on-site safety programs and employer services, according to an announcement. Keith Illa, president of CHS Insurance, said, "We're certainly proud of our 75-year history in the risk management business, but our clients have always counted on us to be looking forward for them — uncovering new business risks and bringing them creative ways to manage those. Our new name reflects our own growth in expanded solutions for our clients, as backed by the global reach of our parent company, CHS."
Feed additives: Cargill Animal Nutrition, through its Provimi business, has introduced PROMOTE, a new global brand and line of feed additives for animal producers, feed manufacturers and retailers that Provimi will globally roll out in the coming months. The PROMOTEline includes: Biacid, Provimax, Cinergy and Prohacid essential oil and organic acid-based products for monogastrics designed to promote growth and gut health; Aloapur, a poultry performance-enhancing additive, in collaboration with Purac Corbion; Amaferm, a digestibility enhancer for ruminants (offered in Europe, the Middle East and South America); Proviox, a natural antioxidant, and Notox, a range of products and services for mycotoxin prevention (not available in the U.S. or Canada). Also, PROMOTE forage preservatives are offered in selected countries to protect dairy and beef producers' nutrient investments. The brand will focus on bringing to market the most promising additive technologies, whether they are internally developed or sourced from external partners.