TPP talks maintain momentum: During the 17th round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, which ended May 24, the U.S. Trade Representative reported that negotiators made further progress on building comprehensive packages that will provide access to their respective markets for industrial, agricultural and textile and apparel products, services and investment and government procurement. The 11 TPP countries discussed plans for smoothly integrating Japan into the negotiations. Japan will join the TPP talks following the successful completion of current members' respective domestic processes. The 18th round of TPP negotiations will be held July 15-25 in Malaysia.
FCC releases funds for rural broadband: The Federal Communications Commission has decided to release the remainder of the Connect America Funds that were authorized last year to be used for broadband expansion instead of their traditional wireline usage. Phase 1 funds amount to about $400 million ($300 million for 2013 and the $185 million left from 2012). FCC had set aside $600 million to invest in new broadband deployment for 2012 and 2013, but much of it was withheld for reasons unknown, National Grange legislative director Grace Boatright explained. An estimated 18 million rural Americans still do not have access to high-speed internet. Many agricultural groups have asked FCC to release the funds. "We're especially thankful that FCC has chosen to release the Connect America Funds in its entirety because it helps assure these small businesses and households alike that connectivity service is a near-future reality," Boatright said.
TechMix formalizes nutrition division: TechMix announced that it has formalized its nutrition product offerings within a new TechMix Nutrition business group. In 2009, a partnership was formed to purchase a company called Protein Resources, which allowed TechMix to create, manufacture and market unique and effective products that meet the needs of a wide-ranging marketplace, according to the announcement. The focus is on high-quality, value-added proteins that are ideal for livestock and aquaculture feeds. The distinction of the nutrition group will be to help customers better identify the expanding nutrition product line offered by TechMix. "We've offered pure nutrition products for several years, but now that we've expanded this segment with new technologies and new products, we felt the time was right for delineating the nutrition group more clearly," TechMix president Mike Nelson said. TechMix Nutrition currently has several branded products within the portfolio: NutriVance soy protein, PEP peptide nutrition (PEP 2, PEP 2+, PEP NS and PEP SD) and N-Take, a proprietary blend of nutrients that supports feed intake in sows and piglets.
Genesus contract: Genesus announced last week that it signed a contract with agribusiness Ariant of Russia's Chelyabinsk region for the largest swine importation ever undertaken between Canada and Russia. Planes will deliver 6,300 Genesus breeding animals, including registered purebred Duroc, Yorkshire and Landrace, to Ariant. Ariant currently produces 300,000 head per year and has a "field-to-fork" strategy with land holdings, grain production, feed mills, meat processing and a network of 350 branded stores for the Genesus natural pork product. Genesus president and chief executive officer Jim Long called Ariant "one of the leading agro-businesses of Russia" and views "this agreement as a further affirmation of Genesus' global reach."
CME prepares to sell NYMEX building: CME Group has retained Newmark Grubb Knight Frank to explore the sale of the 16-story New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) building in New York City. CME said it will continue to operate the NYMEX trading floor in New York, with or without a sale. With a sale, it said it could lease back a portion of the building that includes the trading floor, as it did last year when it sold the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) building, or relocate the floor to another site in Lower Manhattan. CME acquired the building when it purchased NYMEX in 2008 (Feedstuffs, March 24, 2008). NYMEX trades physical commodities such as energy and precious metals, as well as "soft" commodities such as cocoa, cotton and sugar. CME, based in Chicago, Ill., is the largest derivatives exchange in the world and was formed when Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings Inc. acquired CBOT in 2007 (Feedstuffs, July 16, 2007). It trades across all asset classes, including livestock, corn, soybeans and wheat, among other agricultural commodities and products.
Conservation acres: The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting applications from landowners interested in the Wetlands Reserve Program and Grassland Reserve Program. A new round of funding authorizes $255 million to enroll up to 100,000 additional acres into the wetlands program and $47 million to enroll up to 200,000 additional acres into the grassland program. Signup dates and deadlines vary by state, and applications are accepted throughout the year.
Peptide protein: Nutraferma announced that it has launched UltraPro+, a high-quality functional protein ingredient for piglet diets. UltraPro+ is rich in balanced peptides from animal proteins and fermented soy and also contains beneficial direct-fed microbials and metabolites from patented strains of Bacillus subtilis and Aspergillus oryzae. "The balance of well-proven animal peptides, fermented soy, metabolites and viable direct-fed microbes in UltraPro+ represents a real opportunity to improve average daily gain and feed efficiency without the expensive cost of plasma or fish meal," Nutraferma president Eric Lohry said. In two separate university trials, piglets fed diets containing UltraPro+ had improved average daily gain and feed efficiency compared to piglets fed test ingredients. No other differences were observed in average daily feed intake among the other treatments.
OMRI listing: Micronutrients announced that it has secured the listing of IntelliBond C (basic copper chloride) by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI). According to the announcement, the OMRI listing allows for the product's use as a source of copper in both organic and conventional premixes, supplements and feeds for animals. IntelliBond C was the first member of a new category of trace mineral products developed and introduced by Micronutrients under the name hydroxy trace minerals. It was approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials in the mid-1990s as a new source of copper (basic copper chloride) for use in animal feeds.
James W. Cotsamire passed away May 17. He was president of the Ohio Grain, Feed & Fertilizer Assn. in 1975 and also was an honorary member of the Ohio Agribusiness Assn. After serving in the Army Air Corps until 1946, Cotsamire returned home and took a job with J. Walker & Sons. He next worked as a general manager of Galion Equity before retiring from Zeigler Milling Co., which he managed.
Connecticut GMO labels
The Connecticut Senate passed a bill on a 35-1 vote that would require food manufacturers to label products that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The bill is nearly identical to legislation that passed the Vermont House earlier last month (Feedstuffs, May 13) and would not take effect until at least three other states adopt legislation requiring GMO labels. The Vermont measure was adopted too late for consideration by the state Senate, which will take up the matter in the 2014 session, and the Connecticut measure might be held up in the House, where lawmakers are concerned about potential economic damages.