Submit comment or question
Note: All comments are displayed with user's screen name. If screen name is not present, user's full name will be used. Please go to My Account to update your screen name.
Comment Policy: Urner Barry has made the comment feature available to encourage further discussion of our news stories. Defamatory or offensive comments, or comments deemed not relevant to the story will be removed, and if necessary, Urner Barry may restrict the right of individual subscribers to offer comments. In all cases, comments represent opinions of the poster only, and do not represent fact, news, opinions or estimates put forward by Urner Barry.
Email Address is required.
Password is required.
NPPC Submits Comments on Proposed USDA Rule for Gene-Edited Livestock
For more than two years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has dragged its feet on the development of gene-edited livestock, an emerging technology with tremendous promise for livestock agriculture,causing American agriculture to fall behind in the global race to advance its development. Thankfully, under a recently proposed rule, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will have primary regulatory jurisdiction, which “will foster innovation, allow for producer access to this technology, and preserve the preeminence of American agriculture globally,” the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) wrote in comments submitted Wednesday to the agency.
Gene editing is used to make specific changes within an animal’s own genome. Gene editing will allow us to produce animals that are more disease-resistant, require fewer antibiotics and with...
USDA Provides More than $70 Million in 2021 to Protect Agriculture from Plant Pests and Diseases
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is allocating more than $70 million to support 383 projects under the Plant Protection Act’s Section 7721 program to strengthen the nation’s infrastructure for pest detection and surveillance, identification, threat mitigation, to safeguard the nursery production system and to respond to plant pest emergencies. Universities, states, federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, nonprofits, and Tribal organizations will carry out selected projects in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
“State governments, academic institutions, and other essential cooperators across the country use these USDA funds to protect American crops and natural resources and...
Anti-Meat Activist Poses as Smithfield Foods CEO on National Television
Last week, animal activist Matt Johnson of Direct Action Everywhere, posed as the CEO of Smithfield Foods during a national television interview with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo. On December 23, 2020, Bartiromo thought she was speaking with Smithfield Foods CEO Dennis Organ. However, she and her audience were being misled. During the interview, Johnson blamed animal agriculture for new infectious diseases and made false claims that the Centers for Disease Control has data proving that the livestock industry would...
USDA Announces Dr. Carrie Castille as New NIFA Director
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that President Trump has named Dr. Carrie Castille as the new, six year term director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Dr. Castille will start her new role on Monday, January 4, 2021.
“Dr. Castille is a trusted leader in economic development and public policy and has more than 20 years’ experience in the agricultural sector. Her passion for agricultural research, teaching, and...
Secretary Perdue Announces Proposal to Transfer Animal Biotechnology Regulatory Framework to USDA
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced a significant step in modernizing regulations of agricultural animals modified or produced by genetic engineering. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be moving forward with an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) to solicit public input and feedback on a contemplated regulatory framework that would modernize our system into a scientifically-sound, risk-based, and predictable process that facilitates the development and use of these technologies for...
Meat and Poultry Industry Reacts to COVID-19 Stimulus Package
The COVID-19 stimulus bill agreed upon by Congress contains language that would authorize the USDA to provide up to $1 billion in assistance to contract chicken growers for revenue losses sustained because of the pandemic. According to the bill, the fund is specifically for contract growers of livestock and poultry to cover up to 80% of revenue losses.
Mike Brown, President of the National Chicken Council, said, "On behalf of the chicken industry and our farm families across the country, I want to personally thank Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) for his leadership and his support in helping to secure this vital funding...
Policy Issues Affecting the Meat Industry
In a webinar hosted by the North American Meat Institute, experts explored what is on the horizon for trade policy, industry structure, and antitrust as President-elect Biden is set to occupy the White House come January. These Washington D.C. insiders shared a wealth of experience and valuable insights as the meat industry navigates new policy dynamics.
Panelists included Ambassador Darci Vetter, former Chief Agricultural Negotiator, USTR and Global Lead, Public Affairs and Vice Chair, Agriculture and Food, Edelman; and...
Election Results – Where Are We Now?
With the Presidential election, the House, and a runoff election to determine the Senate Majority, the only thing certain in Washington is change. In a webinar hosted by the North American Meat Institute, a panel of experts provided insights and discussed the outcome of key races, the make-up of committees and leadership of Congress, pending changes of cabinet officials, and a new relationship between the White House and Congress, which together shape the agenda in Washington.
Panelists included the Honorable Blanche Lincoln, former Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry and Founder & Principal, Lincoln Policy Group; the Honorable Krysta Harden, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture; and...
Agrimoney Presents Ag Trade Following the U.S. Election Webinar
For this webinar Agrimoney’s Editor in Chief, Mike Verdin, will be joined by some of agriculture’s most prominent voices – including David Hightower, President of The Hightower Report, Dan Basse, President of AgResource, and Louis Rose, Co-founder of Rose Commodity Group – to discuss the future for ag now that Joe Biden is to become US president.
This will include...
PODCAST: Facilitating Progess, Navigating Change - Sarah Beth Aubrey from Elevate Ag
This week Sarah Beth Aubrey, Author, Executive Coach, Podcaster, and Owner of Elevate Ag, talks about the unique challenges for agricultural professionals that the pandemic has underlined. Engaging the workforce from the frontline up...
USTR and USDA Release Report on Agricultural Trade Between the United States and China
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a report highlighting the progress made to date in implementing the agricultural provisions in the U.S.-China Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement, which is delivering historic results for American agriculture.
Since the Agreement entered into force, the United States and China have addressed a multitude of structural barriers in China that had been impeding exports of U.S. food and agricultural products. To date, China has implemented at least...
Cargill Study Shows Consumer Support of Farmers Grows As a Result of COVID-19 Challenges
A recent Cargill study found a majority of consumers stand ready to rally around farmers in support of their efforts to put food on tables around the globe. Consumer recognition for the challenges and expectations farmers face grew amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as processing and transportation bottlenecks, especially in the protein industry, stretched the global food supply. In the latest Feed4Thought survey, Cargill found nearly one-third of consumers in the U.S., Brazil, Vietnam and Norway have a renewed appreciation for animal agriculture.
“Farmers and ranchers have faced tremendous pressures caused by COVID-19 supply chain disruptions. And those pressures came on top of the multitude of challenges farmers already faced as they worked to feed the world in...
Agricultural Consultant Michelle Klieger Breaks Down the Needs and Wants of Today's Consumer
For decades, agriculture’s mantra has been to provide safe and affordable food. This dual-mandate resulted in a highly concentrated and specialized agricultural system that constantly improves efficiency and increases output throughout the supply chain. With this yardstick, agriculture has achieved its goal. In developed countries, food is widely available and takes up a smaller percentage of the average household budget than ever before. Yet, it’s too soon for agriculture to declare victory.
To maximize the food production system, resiliency and optimization were sacrificed...
Cargill to Advance Regenerative Farming Practices
Cargill is supporting farmer-led efforts to adopt practices and systems foundational to regenerative agriculture practices across 10 million acres of North American farmland over the next 10 years.
The initiative will focus primarily on row crop rotations that include corn, wheat, canola and soybeans and other staple crops. Cargill expects these regenerative agriculture practices to benefit the long-term profitability and resiliency of farmers while simultaneously advancing the company's progress against its science-based climate commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its global supply chains by 30 percent per ton of product by 2030. The initiative will also...
USDA Names Dr. Spiro Stefanou as New ERS Administrator
Deputy Undersecretary for Research, Education, Economics Dr. Scott Hutchins announced that USDA has named Dr. Spiro Stefanou to lead the Economic Research Service (ERS) as its new Administrator.
“We look forward to adding Dr. Stefanou’s more than 30 years of leadership and expertise in agricultural economics as we usher in a new era for ERS. Under his leadership, ERS will thrive as a world-class economic powerhouse and will continue to build and deliver scientifically-sound economic data and research to help shape...
The Nature Conservancy, Cargill, McDonald’s and Target Unite to Invest in Beef Sustainability
The Nature Conservancy, McDonald’s, Cargill and Target are coming together to launch a new five-year, $8.5 million project aimed at working with Nebraska farmers to advance proven soil health practices to help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and help farmers adapt to climate change. Overall, this effort has the potential to sequester 150,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide over the course of the project – equivalent to removing over 32,000 cars from the road in one year.
Nebraska is one of the top states for U.S. beef production and among the top three states for corn production, a key ingredient for cattle feed. This project will work with interested farmers to reach...
Merck Animal Health Acquires IdentiGEN
Merck Animal Health, known as MSD Animal Health outside the United States and Canada, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA, today announced the completion of its acquisition of IdentiGEN, a leader in DNA-based animal traceability solutions for Livestock and Aquaculture from MML Growth Capital Partners Ireland. Specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
IdentiGEN’s technology combines each species’ unique DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and data analytics to provide an evidence-based animal traceability solution, called DNA TraceBack, to accurately and precisely trace beef, seafood, pork and poultry that is verifiable from farm-to-table.
Food producers, processors and retailers are looking for accurate and complete animal traceability solutions that provide full accountability, as well as...
New Funding for Cattle Producers to Secure Strong Future for the Beef Industry
The National Cattlemen’s Foundation (NCF) announced its partnership with Cargill to provide funding to North American cattle producers to provide practical tools to help manage market shifts, reduce costs, manage finite natural resource availability and withstand extreme weather events.
The four-year strategic partnership, which was funded by a $3 million contribution from Cargill’s protein business, establishes a professional development scholarship program, and provides educational resources through the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) and experiential learning in partnership with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).
“Cargill is invested in the future of ranchers and farmers,” Jon Nash, Cargill Protein – North America business leader. “This contribution is just one of the ways...
U.S., Japan Expand Organic Trade Opportunities; Livestock Added to Trade Arrangement
The United States and Japan announced the expansion of their organic equivalence arrangement to include livestock products. The arrangement goes into effect July 16, 2020 and reduces costs and streamlines the process for anyone involved in the organic livestock supply chain by requiring only one organic certification.
“Opening new markets for America’s organic farmers and ranchers continues to be a priority for USDA,” said the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Greg Ibach. “Japan is already one of the top export markets for U.S. organic products. This agreement opens additional opportunities for everyone involved in the international supply chain for...
USDA Announces Initial Purchase of Foot-and-Mouth Disease Vaccine
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced the initial purchase of vaccine for the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank. APHIS will invest $27.1 million in foot-and-mouth disease vaccine, which the agency would use in the event of an outbreak to protect animals and help stop the spread of disease.
Foot-and-mouth disease is an infectious viral disease that affects cloven-hooved animals, including cattle, pigs and sheep; it is not a food safety or human health threat. The disease is endemic in many parts of the world and would have widespread, long-term fallout for livestock and crop agriculture, including...
NPPC, NCBA Lead Coalition Warning Congress of Agriculture Inspection Funding Shortfall
A coalition of more than 150 agriculture and trade groups led by the National Pork Producers Council and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association sent a letter to Congress warning of a major funding shortfall that could severely weaken agricultural inspections at U.S. borders. The letter urged lawmakers to protect agriculture by appropriating funding to address what may be a $630 million COVID-19 related shortfall through fiscal year 2021.
In the letter, the coalition highlighted a funding shortfall for Agricultural Quarantine Inspection, which plays a critical role in protecting U.S. agriculture from plant and animal pests and diseases. APHIS collects user fees that pay for U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture inspections. Due to the recent economic downturn and travel restrictions as a result of...
USDA Trade Mitigation Purchases to Feed People in Need and Aid American Farmers Surpass $2B
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that it has purchased more than $2.2 billion of meat, fruits, vegetables, specialty crops and dairy products in fiscal years 2019 and 2020 in its ongoing efforts to feed people in need and assist American farmers and ranchers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations.
USDA is on target to reach its fiscal year goal of about $1.4 billion of trade mitigation purchases in the next phase of fiscal year purchasing, which ends Sept. 30. The purchases were made through...
NAMI to President Trump: China Must Meet Phase One Obligations
The North American Meat Institute joined a broad coalition of agribusinesses and agriculture organizations calling on President Trump to ensure continued implementation of the U.S. China Phase One Trade Agreement due to the significance of China’s market for U.S. food and agricultural exports, particularly U.S. meat and poultry products, which now enjoy expanded market access under the Agreement. The organizations emphasize the Agreement’s benefits for the U.S. rural economy, and underscore its importance to the overall growth and vitality of the U.S. agriculture sector.
The letter, sent June 16, 2020, was signed by 192 groups representing all parts of the food value chain and rural economies. The following is the text of the letter...
NAMI's Response to New York Times' "End of Meat" Op-Ed
Like many sectors of the economy, meat and poultry production has been challenged during the COVID crisis. This leads to the popular pundit sport of writing the industry’s eulogy. The most recent comes from vegetarian and author Jonathan Safran Foer here in the New York Times. Safran Foer says COVID-19 has shown that for Americans, the end of meat is here.
From the start of the pandemic, it was clear meat is essential to Americans. Consumers were flooding grocery stores and buying necessities. Meat was among the few key items, like toilet paper and hand sanitizer, which they bought immediately and in historically high quantities. Meat continues to experience...
Ranking Member Stabenow Introduces Legislation to Protect America’s Food Supply
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, introduced legislation to help protect the food supply after the COVID-19 crisis has put an unprecedented strain on farmers, workers, food banks, and families.
“The COVID-19 crisis has tested the strength of our nation’s food supply chain, creating a ripple effect that’s harming our families, farmers and workers,” said Senator Stabenow. “This bill will help strengthen our food supply by redirecting food to families and helping farmers and processors retool their operations.”
The shift in demand from restaurants and food service to retail and food donations has caused bottlenecks in the supply chain. Meanwhile, outbreaks of COVID-19 in food processing plants have...
USDA, FDA Strengthen U.S. Food Supply Chain Protections During COVID-19 Pandemic
As the COVID-19 pandemic response continues, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have been working around the clock on many fronts to support the U.S. food and agriculture sector so that Americans continue to have access to a safe and robust food supply. As a next step in carrying out Executive Order 13917, the USDA and FDA announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (PDF, 137 KB) to help prevent interruptions at FDA-regulated food facilities, including fruit and vegetable processing.
This is an important preparedness effort as we are approaching peak harvesting seasons, when many fruits and vegetables grown across the U.S. are sent to be...
Dr. Cindy Nickerson Appointed as USDA Deputy Chief Economist
U.S. Department of Agriculture Chief Economist Robert Johansson today announced the appointment of Dr. Cindy Nickerson as the Deputy Chief Economist, effective June 7.
In her role as Deputy Chief Economist for Policy Analysis, Dr. Nickerson advises the Chief Economist, the Secretary, and top policy officials regarding the economic implications of programs, regulations, and legislative proposals affecting the U.S. food system and rural areas.
“I am very pleased that Dr. Nickerson is joining the Office of the Chief Economist,” said Johansson. “She brings to the position significant experience both in program and policy analysis...
USDA Announces Additional Food Purchase Plans
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced details of $470 million in Section 32 food purchases to occur in the third quarter of fiscal year 2020, in addition to purchases previously announced, which will enable USDA to purchase surplus food for distribution to communities nationwide. These Section 32 purchases will provide additional support for producers and Americans in need, in response to changing market conditions caused by the COVID-19 national emergency.
“President Trump has authorized USDA to support our farmers affected by this national emergency and this action to purchase food and deliver to those in need further demonstrates his unwavering support for the American people during these unprecedented times,” said Secretary Perdue. “America’s farmers and ranchers have...
NCBA Applauds USDA Relief Plan
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Marty Smith issued the following statement regarding the announcement related to USDA’s plan for distribution of CARES Act funding.
“We appreciate Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s announcement that the agency will soon distribute funding to the cattlemen and cattlewomen who desperately need help during this national emergency. We applaud USDA’s work to quickly craft a plan to distribute the funds to those who need it most and we look forward to learning more about that plan very soon. America’s cattle producers are facing unprecedented crisis after...
Rabobank: Impact of Coronavirus on Southeast Asian Food & Agribusiness
Southeast Asia will face far-reaching challenges from the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak, such as economic decline, reduced out-of-home consumption, and supply chains disruptions, even beyond the lockdowns.
After panic buying, consumers will shift from foodservice to retail and – after a short, suppressed splurge (if any) – to recession-period spending.
Production will also be affected, albeit less, but transporting goods will continue to experience problems due to...
NPPC Urges SBA to Ensure Ag Businesses Can Access Disaster Loan Program
The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) joined 30 agriculture organizations yesterday in urging the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to ensure agricultural business can participate in the economic disaster loan program included in the CARES Act.
Earlier this week, SBA posted information on its Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program website stating applicants do not qualify for loans if they are an agricultural enterprise (e.g. farm). However, the CARES Act, signed into law last month, does not specifically exclude agriculture from this program. Congress intended for all business fewer than...
Retail Fresh Produce Demand Soars, but Landmines Remain During Coronavirus Pandemic
The COVID-19 situation has created a surge in fresh produce demand in retail grocery, but challenges around foodservice, logistics, macroeconomics, and labor availability pose ongoing threats. While fresh produce sales through foodservice channels have largely dried up, consumers continue to stock up on grocery items, including fresh produce.
Logistics have been strained, both globally and domestically, but the industry is adapting rapidly. The imminent global recession and rapid climb in the value of the US dollar will continue to threaten global demand, even after the virus is contained. Labor availability constraints and increases in...
Farmers Join Forces for Sustainability and Responsible Climate Policy
Twenty-one farm and ranch groups representing millions of U.S. farmers and ranchers are launching Farmers for a Sustainable Future (FSF), a coalition committed to environmental and economic sustainability. This coalition will serve as a primary resource for lawmakers and policymakers as they consider climate policies.
The coalition will share with elected officials, media and the public U.S. agriculture’s commitment to sustainability and the incredible strides already made to reduce agriculture’s environmental footprint. As policy proposals are developed and considered, the goal is for the coalition and its guiding principles to serve as...
Secretary Perdue Statement on President Trump’s Budget Proposal
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement after President Donald J. Trump submitted his FY 2021 budget proposal to Congress:
“The United States is leading the world in economic growth and prosperity. President Trump’s pro-growth policies like tax cuts, common-sense deregulation, and new trade deals have increased confidence in the economy and put hard earned money back into the pockets of Americans,” said Secretary Perdue. “President Trump’s budget continues to reign in an overgrown Federal government with fiscally responsible cuts in spending. USDA is doing its part to improve our customer service while reducing our economic and regulatory impact. We will continue to...
Cargill Survey: At-Home Learning is Changing Parents Buying Habits as School Meals Off the Table
Current Restaurant Restrictions and Capacity By State
Urner Barry Releases January Soy and Wheat Protein Report
Meat and Poultry Worker COVID-19 Case Rates Five Times Lower in December than May
Urner Barry Expands Lamb Price Coverage with New Imported Market Report
URNER BARRY INDICES