Meat trade council formed: In a letter to undersecretary for farm and foreign agricultural service Michael Scuse and Ambassador Isi Siddiqui, nine of the major U.S. meat and poultry trade associations and the American Farm Bureau Federation announced that they have joined together to form the Meat & Poultry Industry Trade Policy Council (MPITPC). The purpose of MPITPC is to provide a forum for monthly meetings/conference calls to exchange information about important international trade issues and barriers to trade in key markets around the world. "One of our most important functions as a 'council' is to work together as representatives of the meat and poultry packers, processors, livestock producers and ranchers to advise and consult with you and your respective staffs at (the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Trade Representative) on existing and pending trade negotiations as well as current impediments to trade," the letter says. "Our shared goal is to facilitate trade in meat and poultry products by eliminating or mitigating barriers to trade in all meat and poultry products." MPITPC members include: the Farm Bureau, American Meat Institute, National Cattlemen's Beef Assn., National Chicken Council, National Pork Producers Council, National Turkey Federation, North American Meat Assn., USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, U.S. Hide, Skin & Leather Assn. and U.S. Meat Export Federation.
AVMA asks for DEA clarification: In a May 2013 letter to Congress, the Drug Enforcement Agency stated that veterinarians are allowed to bring and use controlled substances — to provide pain management, anesthesia and euthanasia — on an "as-needed and random basis" so long as the locations are within a state where the veterinarian is registered and the location is not a principal place of practice. Previously, the agency said the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) did not permit veterinarians to bring these medications away from their principle places of business, often their clinics or homes. The American Veterinary Medical Assn. (AVMA) said although DEA has responded to Congress, it still is unclear as to what constitutes an "as-needed and random basis" and a "principal place of professional practice" and also does not resolve the issue of when a veterinarian registers to be licensed in one state but also practices in another state (such as a veterinarian who lives on the border of two states and practices in both). AVMA director of governmental relations Dr. Mark Lutschaunig sent a letter to DEA chief of liaison and policy Cathy Gallagher Dec. 17 requesting a meeting to discuss how the agency is enforcing the regulation. DEA has failed to explain when it will notify its field offices of the updated stance on this issue.
ADM building vegetable oil refinery: Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) is building a plant within its Decatur, Ill., processing complex to further refine crude vegetable oil into an acidulated form that improves the nutritional value of animal feeds and can allow livestock feeders to use less grain in their rations. ADM is investing more than $6.5 million to build the facility, which is currently slated for completion in the second half of 2014. It will have a production capacity of 800,000 lb. per day and will include a new loading station for trucks and railcars. ADM already produces the ingredient commonly known as "acid oil" at refineries in Enderlin, N.D.; Quincy, Ill., and Windsor, Ont. A pound of acid oil contains roughly 2.5 times the calories of a pound of corn, which ADM said allows livestock producers to save costs by substituting acid oil for a portion of the grain normally used in animal rations. The Decatur facility will produce acid oil from the raw soapstock that is a naturally occurring co-product of the vegetable oil refining process.
New Zealand pork: New Zealand's Supreme Court dismissed an appeal Dec. 20 from the New Zealand Pork Industry Board and will allow the importation of consumer-ready cuts of uncooked pork under 3 kg from the U.S. The pork board appealed to the Supreme Court earlier this year after the Court of Appeal and High Court decided in favor of a government risk assessment that would further liberalize market access for U.S. pork. The High Court found in favor of the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries and its Import Health Standard for pork products from countries with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), including the U.S., since PRRS is not a food safety issue, and there is negligible risk of PRRS transmission from the legal importation of pork from countries with the disease. The National Pork Producers Council is also working to remove PRRS-related restrictions in Australia and South Africa.
Green Plains reopens: After 15 months of shutdown, Green Plains Renewable Energy in Fairmont, Minn., the second-largest ethanol plant in the state, is reopening. The plant, with an annual capacity of 113 million gal., was purchased by Green Plains after the previous owner, BioFuel Energy Corp., defaulted on payments to its lender. Due to high commodity prices, the plant remained closed in 2013 but reopened the last week of December.
Wheat milling: Bunge North America announced Dec. 20 that it has completed the previously announced purchase of the wheat milling business of Grupo Altex S.A. de C.V. Bunge North America supplies raw and processed agricultural commodities and specialized food ingredients to a wide range of customers in the animal feed, food processor, foodservice and bakery industries.