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Pork Month brings optimism, challenges

Pork Month brings optimism, challenges

IPPA President Al Wulfekuhle of Quasqueton addresses the media during the governor’s news conference. Photo: Iowa Pork Producers Association.

October is marked as National Pork Month because it is traditionally the time of year that large quantities of hogs are brought to market by America’s pig farmer. And this year is no exception with growth in pork production as result of low disease pressure, enhanced production efficiencies and modest expansion.

Al Wulfekuhle, Iowa Pork Producers Association president, and pork producer says, “It is a law of business that expansion follows profitability, and we have had a couple of profitable years. Our industry keeps getting better with more pigs per sow per year, and we keep getting more efficient. We are just too good at what we do.”

Pork production is serious business in Iowa. The prime location with local access to corn, soybeans and processing plants combined with a supportive business climate assists the state’s pig farmers to raise one-third of U.S. pork and take bragging rights as the leading pork-producing state.

Although a record pork production year lowers the price of pork at the meat counter, it creates profitability challenges for hog farmers. Wulfekuhle frankly says it is a scary time for pork producers. According to the recently released USDA Hogs and Pigs Report, there is going to be 2% more hogs going through the processing plants this winter, stretching packer capacity further.

“We are walking on pins and needles, hoping we do not have any plant breakdowns or delays and hogs get processed without backing up. If we back the pigs up then they just get heavier and prolongs the problem,” says Wulfekuhle.

While relief is on the way with five new pork packing plants coming nationwide, they will not be operational until 2017 and 2018. The largest plants are on track to open their doors in the Iowa area.

So, for the next four to six months it is going to be rough for all U.S. hog farmers. However, more pork coming to the marketplace does not mean pig farmers sacrifice the quality of the product. It just translates to affordable animal protein options for the consumer.

Pork, a global favorite

Pork is the world’s most widely eaten meat, representing 36% of all meat consumed, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. Overall, demand for pork domestically and abroad is good.

“Consumers recognize the versatility of serving pork in their homes,” says Wulfekuhle. “That is what is so great about pork. It absorbs flavor well. It is a lean, nutritious and low-cost product.”

For the most part, the consumption of pork domestically is vigorous and stable. However, the true market growth potential is the export market. Twenty-five percent of the U.S. pork is exported. The United States became a net exporter of pork in the 1990s, so any new growth occurs in the international marketplace. Wulfekuhle says, “In reality, most increased supplies have gone to exports.”

In 2015, Iowa exported $1.1 billion worth of pork products with Japan, Canada, Mexico and South Korea being the leading customers.

Wulfekuhle will join Iowa’s Gov. Terry Branstad and the state’s beef leaders in a trade mission to Japan and China in November. During his two tenures as governor, this trip will mark Branstad’s 17th trip to Japan and sixth to China.

“Trade missions like this one allow Iowa companies to expand their markets outside of the U.S. and ultimately creates more jobs and strengthens our economy,” says Branstad, during a press conference announcing the upcoming trade mission.

This trade mission comes at a crucial time as U.S. pork faces rigid competition from other countries. Although these trade missions pull Wulfekuhle away from the farm, it is time well spent explaining pork production to international meat buyers. He says, “It is building a relationship with these countries. You can do that with meeting them one-on-one and letting them know you care.”

It also gives them a direct avenue to ask questions about pork production. Wulfekuhle says the dialogue continues long after he returns to the state.

Still, the national recognition of pork in October is a good reminder to all pork producers to share his or her story with consumers locally and worldwide. He says, “We get a lot of questions from consumers, especially in the United States, about how the product is raised and if we care about the environment. I think the message we keep getting is we need to show that we do care.”

Senecavirus A confirmed in Ontario

Senecavirus A (formerly called Seneca Valley Virus or SVV) has been confirmed in Ontario. Clinical signs of this disease closely resemble foot and mouth disease, so the U.S. authorities have turned away at least eight truckloads of pigs which apparently showed signs of the disease.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is testing all swine at federal processing plants that are symptomatic. Processing plants can be shut down up to 72 hours while testing is being conducted, which immediately stops the flow of hogs and shipping of pork products from that facility. If a plant is shut down, its customers and suppliers will be notified of pending production and product delays/cancellations.

Manitoba producers should take the following biosecurity measures.

– Know the symptoms of Senecavirus A (blisters/vesicles or ulcers of the snout, mouth, and/or just above the hoof; lameness, fevers, lack of energy and/or appetite; lesions; four- to 10 day-increase in piglet mortality with/without diarrhea)
– Ensure your transporters exercise biosecurity and know the symptoms of Senecavirus A
– Ask your plant, marketer and/or assembly yard about their processes to address this disease

If your herd shows any symptoms, immediately implement the following protocol.

– Stop any movement on and off farm.
– Call your herd veterinarian and the CFIA office (Manitoba region: 204-259-1400).
– Do not leave the premises while awaiting CFIA and veterinary help.
ndash; Notify your transporter, plant and/or assembly yard if loads left your farm in the previous 12 to 24 hours of you noticing symptoms.

Click here for additional Senacavirus A information on Manitoba Pork’s website. If you have further questions or concerns regarding this material, contact:
– Your herd veterinarian
– Your plant
– Your marketer or
– Mark Fynn, Manitoba Pork’s manager of Quality Assurance and Animal Care Programs, at 204-235-2302 or mfynn@manitobapork.com.

Lifetime nutrition key to optimizing pig performance

Continuing to improve nutrient utilization and performance through in-feed applications is a key focus for modern swine production systems. In particular, when faced with greater legislative pressures on antibiotics and trace minerals, feed and nutrition is more important than ever according to animal nutrition company AB Vista.

Pete Wilcock, AB Vista global technical manager, says a key area for this lifetime growth is nursery pig performance.

“To maintain or improve early performance — especially in markets where nutritional strategies such as zinc and copper supplementation are under pressure — it’s critical to understand the interaction of phytate with these trace minerals and its impact on performance. With even small amounts of dietary phytate reducing early pig performance the opportunity to use optimal levels of phytase to establish a low phytate nutrition feed program can provide advantages in both gain and FCR,” Wilcock says.

“This low phytate nutrition can be extended further in finishing. As an example, summer’s reduced feed intake also means a reduction in nutrient intake, so anything that can be done to the diet to increase nutrient utilization is important. With phytate’s role in reducing amino acid and energy utilization well-documented, destruction of phytate through the addition of high levels of phytase can increase slaughter weights and improve feed conversion.”

Reducing feed costs is a continued driver for the swine industry and one recent development in phytase use today is the higher matrix release values associated with the newer phytases on the market.

Wilcock says understanding the levels of dietary phytate levels and phytase characteristics are important in maximizing the opportunities to reduce costs.

“Historically, in regions such as Latin America and Asia Pacific, phytases were dosed to give a 0.10-0.13% avP release. But with the next generation of phytases coupled with the ability to measure dietary phytate, it is now possible to use up to a 0.175% avP release depending on the diet and in some cases even higher, saving further costs,” he says.

Wilcock says the upcoming International Phytate Summit, a global congress to be held in November, will unlock further insights into the role of phytate and phytase in nutrition. With a theme of “The Value Chain of Phytate Destruction”, the IPS3 agenda and discussions will focus on strategies for formulating with minerals and amino acids in the presence of phytate.

IPS3 is a closed academic event, however follow-up meetings will be held in different regions throughout 2017. Contact your local AB Vista representative for more information on IPS3.

Click here to find out more about IPS3. For more information, contact AB Vista on +44(0)1672 517 650 or info@abvista.com.

USDA Hogs & Pigs: A very tough fall is coming

NHF_sows_fitz

You have likely read by now the details of USDA’s September Hogs and Pigs. For reference, I provide the details in Figure 1. The report was viewed as somewhat bearish when it was released since most every market inventory category or measurement was larger than was expected, on average, by the analysts surveyed before the report.

CME Lean Hogs futures were kinder than expected today with October posting a small loss, December posting a small gain and every other contract increasing sharply. Contracts from May through October 2017 all gained more than $3 per hundredweight, erasing all of last week’s pre-report losses.

I’m not sure what generated all of the optimism. I think it may have been more sympathy after the bludgeoning of the past few weeks.

Some takeaways from the report are:

♦ The breeding herd is still growing and USDA’s estimate is, to me, more reasonable than those of the past two quarters. Lower sow slaughter this summer suggested some growth was occurring. Anecdotal evidence from equipment and breeding stock suppliers suggests that robust growth is occurring. Friday’s figure of 6.016 million was 0.6% larger than one year ago and puts us back on track to hit 1% annual herd growth (6.06 million head) by Dec. 1.

♦ Both the all-hogs and pigs and breeding herd inventories were record large on Sept. 1. That marks the fourth straight report in which market hog inventories set a new record for the respective quarter.

♦ All of the weight categories were larger than pre-report estimates by 1% or more. Most concerning, the 180-and-over category increase (4.1%) was, though very large, much smaller than the 6.9% actual increase in September slaughter. The lateness of this report (Sept. 30) takes out most of the guesswork about this number for the month and, if anything, it is low since we are importing fewer Canadian market hogs this year.

♦ UDSA farrowings and litter size estimates appear to me to be more reasonable than those of the past few quarters. But the estimators once again revised the six-month-past pig crop upward and accounted for 100% of the change by revising farrowings upward. They apparently never miss the litter size! More on that later. Figure 2 shows the pattern of revisions, the last of which (blue line) was for the December-February crop that was first published in the March 2016 report. Only once in the last seven quarters has USDA not significantly revised the pig crop upward and the average over that time period has been 2.45%. The green observations represent where the March-May and June-August crops will fall should they be revised in a similar manner. This is getting to look like systematic error in estimating the pig crop.

♦ We believe USDA will either adjust their estimates upward in the future or continue revising pig crops higher. The reason is that recent average for pigs saved per litter are likely too low. See Figure 3. Since porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, litter sizes have been trending higher but why have did they not return to pre-PEDV levels when the disease itself began taking only a fraction of the pigs it did in 2013-14? The genetics and management of these herds is the same as before PEDV. Breeding companies didn’t suspend their efforts to make genetic progress. I’m not aware of any high-value, highly prolific nucleus herds being lost. So why is this breeding herd not capable of moving back to the actual trend it was on before PEDV and not just resuming the uptrend but from a lower level? I understand fully that we are back on the same improvement trend but why did we not go back to where we were? I think it explains USDA’s failures in predicting recent pig crops.

So what should you make of this report? It means trouble. My long-standing, often shrill warning about packing capacity is coming true. Fourth quarter slaughter will run at capacity from early November onward and will be above capacity for several weeks in December. The surge of slaughter the past two weeks is driven in part by a few hogs moving early since weights have been constant instead of rising as they normally do in late-September. But the surge is, for the most part, a harbinger of what is to come. 

My compilation of analysts’ forecasts, including mine, appears in Figures 5 and 6. The slaughter numbers are astonishingly large and continue so into 2017 as it appears none of us think the breeding herd is going to stop growing this year.

The prices are equally astonishing to the low side, but I will warn you that this fall could be worse than you see here. We are in a situation where supply will be right against packing capacity. That will leave both hog supply and demand the same and fixed in terms of quantity — the packers won’t be able to take any more hogs and producers won’t be able to ship any fewer. The result of that is what we economists call an “indeterminate price” — it could be anything from zero up to, perhaps, last year’s price level.

I hope I am wrong but this smells a lot like 1998, and the fallout was not pretty. Besides a major reduction in the number of hog producers, $8 hogs got us mandatory price reporting which, even though I believe it has turned out okay, was hugely expensive for both government and packers; and anything that pushes packer costs higher eventually hurts producers or consumers. Packer margins are already near the level of 1998 so it is hard to believe that the spread between hog and pork prices and the value of byproducts together are not large enough already to make this year another banner one. Packers clearly cannot talk to one another or collude or manipulate prices in any way — even if their action is for the good of producers. But they can each make their own decisions about the value of their suppliers — now and in the future. There is no law against that as long as their actions are independent.

I am no fan of government intervention, but I can almost guarantee you this: If anything close to ’98 happens again, there are lawmakers waiting to change the system — even if the change is clearly for the worst to most logical industry participants. 

SDSU, industry welcomes new swine facility

Viewing windows allow visitors to experience modern hog production practices without jeopardizing strict biosecurity at South Dakota State Universityrsquos new Swine Education and Research Facility

Lauded as the “Miracle on Medary”, South Dakota State University and the swine industry officially dedicated a $7.4 million Swine Education and Research Facility at a ceremony at the site north of the Brookings, S.D., campus on Oct. 1.

The event marked the culmination of a collaborative effort of individuals, families, organizations and businesses not only from South Dakota, but also neighboring states of Minnesota and Iowa.

“This facility is really a testimony to legacy, leadership and a diverse group of people working together for a common passion to make things better for the next generation,” says Bob Thaler, SDSU professor and Extension swine specialist. He credits a group of people who looked at and decided that a “$10,000 boar stud barn wasn’t good enough, but we can do better.”

From that idea of wishing to do better was born the vision of what has become the new sow teaching and intensive research complex and on-site wean-to-finish research barn located off of Medary Avenue north of the SDSU campus, as well as a wean-to-finish production barn located south of Brookings along Interstate 29.

Making things better for the next generation, as Thaler referred to, was exemplified by Hayden Kerkaert, an SDSU junior animal science major from Pipestone, Minn., who saw the great promise that such a facility offers. This facility was merely a vision when Thaler was showing prospective-student Kerkaert around the SDSU campus three years ago. “I was a senior in high school when I came to this same facility, and Dr. Thaler gave me a tour of the facility, and I thought, OK these are cool facilities, just like all the other facilities that I saw when I toured Kansas State, Iowa State, and all the other colleges that I visited,” Kerkaert recalled. “And then he stopped and said, ‘Wait Hayden, we’re going to have new swine facilities here in about three or four years during your academic career’.”

As Thaler explained the facilities yet to come to the prospective Jackrabbit, Kerkaert absorbed all that information and now says, “you could say that was the ‘hook-line-and-sinker’ moment for me.”

Paul Brandt, producer at Brandt Farms Inc. from Clear Lake, S.D., reminisces that he was on the South Dakota pork producers council when a proposal was brought forth to improve the SDSU swine facilities. The first thoughts were “that maybe we could provide funding for a used Double L and add on and make things go, and from that, oh boy when they say ‘Go Big and Go Blue,’ they do” referring to the SDSU school colors of blue and yellow.

The new facilities will allow students and faculty the ability to perform world-class research projects from feeding trials to environmental studies to reproduction and animal health work.

One thing that Brandt says he really likes about the facilities is that they “look like every other facility.” That’s important because in addition to being a classroom for SDSU students, the facilities will also provide a classroom of sorts to the general public as many of the facilities’ rooms have viewing windows. These will offer visitors the ability to view modern hog production without having to shower in. “This is key,” Brandt says, “with the viewing area we can help demystify pork production. This can remove the fear of the unknown, giving people exposure to modern production in real time.”

A number of the dignitaries speaking at the dedication ceremony touted the importance of the new facilities for very reasons, and not the slightest of those is the ability to get future generations excited about agriculture.

As mentioned, these facilities came to be from vision, dedication, commitment and financial support from South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota, and the benefits of that participation are expected to filter back to the swine industry of those three states and beyond for many years to come.

“Training of students will have a big impact,” says Daniel Scholl, SDSU College of Agriculture and Biological Science interim dean. “Think about what we’re doing. We’re creating new technologies and transferring that to students and transferring that to people out in the industry through Extension and outreach.”

Scholl went on to say that with such facilities, the impact will last a long time considering the number of students who will have the fortune to learn through these facilities. “And then consider the careers that these students will have. You will have close to 80 to 90 years of impact because of the leadership to get these facilities to this point.”

ID of a Porcine Sapelovirus causing polioencephalomyelitis in U.S. swine

ID of a Porcine Sapelovirus causing polioencephalomyelitis in U.S. swine

An acute outbreak of atypical neurologic disease in 11-week-old pigs in a finishing barn was recently investigated by a group of veterinary diagnostic labs (Iowa State University, Kansas State University and the University of Minnesota). This was a collaborative effort between the authors as well as Kent J. Schwartz (ISU), Fabio Vannucci (UMN), Talita Resende (UMN), Albert Rovira (UMN), Paul Sundberg (Swine Health Information Center), Jerome Nietfeld (KSU), and Ben M. Hause (KSU).

Clinically affected animals originated from a single nursery and were placed in two different finishers two weeks prior to the initiation of clinical signs. Over the course of a three-week time frame, the onset and progression of clinical signs included decrease of water and feed consumption, compromised ambulation with ataxia (difficulty in walking), incoordination of limbs, mental dullness, paresis (muscular weakness), paralysis (unable to move affected limb or limbs) and decreased response to environmental stimuli. More severely affected animals had severe ataxia with intact deep pain perception and withdrawal reflexes in the hind limbs.

Despite mental dullness and aimless wandering, pigs often had central awareness with no detected nystagmus or cranial nerve deficits. Video of the affected pigs is available at swinehealth.org/sapelovirus. Overall morbidity (percentage of clinically affected animals) of 20% and case fatality rate (percentage of animals who showed clinical signs that died) of 30% were reported by the herd veterinarian. Samples were collected and submitted to the ISU-VDL by the herd veterinarian.

Microscopic examination of the brain revealed severe lymphoplasmacytic and necrotizing encephalomyelitis with multifocal areas of gliosis and neuron satelliosis suggestive of a neurotropic (brain) viral infection (Figure 1). Bacterial isolation attempts from multiple tissues from affected pigs did not demonstrate any bacterial pathogens that could explain these microscopic lesions.

Figure 1: Upper left - Severe, multifocal lymphoplasmacytic encephalitis and gliosis. Upper right - Marked expansion of Virchow-Robin spaces by moderate to high numbers of lymphocytes and plasma cells. Locally extensive gliosis and neuron satelliosis. Lower left - Multifocal glial nodules with occasional neurophagia and satelliosis. Lower right - Multifocal, severe, lymphoplasmacytic myelitis and occasional spongiosis.

Immunohistochemistry and polymerase chain reaction testing for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus and porcine circovirus type 2 were negative. Sections of spinal cord tested by multiplex PCR for porcine enterovirus, porcine teschovirus and porcine sapelovirus were found consistently positive for only porcine sapelovirus A.

 

 

Figure 2: Recently developed Sapelovirus A in situ hybridization. Histologic section of cerebrum from affected pig. Neuron with intracytoplasmic positive staining. Figure on right corner shows a higher magnification of cell with positive staining.

Next-generation sequencing of brainstem and spinal cord samples was performed to investigate the possible presence of other infectious agents as well as to confirm previous sapelovirus PCR results. Interestingly, a genetically novel sapelovirus was identified within CNS tissues of affected animals.1 The 2,323 amino acid polyprotein sequence detected has an overall 94% amino acid identity and 86% nucleotide identity to a recently reported Korean sapelovirus2. No other viral agents were identified within examined samples, using the next generation sequencing. In order to further investigate the role of sapelovirus, in situ hybridization assay for porcine sapelovirus was developed through collaboration with the University of Minnesota VDL. Results from this assay demonstrated positive staining within glial fibrillary acidic protein positive cells and neuron from tissues of affected animals (Figure 2).

Porcine sapelovirus A is a non-enveloped virus with positive sense, single stranded RNA genome belonging to the Picornaviridae family, which has been re-classified into the three distinct genera (Enterovirus, Teschovirus and Sapelovirus). Historical seroprevalence reports suggest that a variety of enteroviruses are endemic within most commercial swine farms. Between Jan. 1, 2014, and June 21, 2016, a total of 65 cases were submitted to ISU-VDL for neurologic disease investigation which also had histopathology examination of neurologic tissue and nested PCR for PSV, PTV and PEV performed.

Thirty of these 65 cases had histologic neurologic lesions attributed to a viral infection. One or more viruses were detected in 19 of those 30 cases. PSV was detected in 14 of the 19 cases, either alone (six cases) or with PTV or PEV (four and three cases, respectively). All three viruses were detected in one case. The biologic relevance of this finding is not clear at this point as there is a significant gap of knowledge concerning the ecology, pathophysiology and the potential role of Sapelovirus A in cases of encephalomyelitis in swine. Also, detection of a virus of enteric origin such as Sapelovirus should be interpreted with caution as fecal contamination of samples is common.

Clearly, additional studies are warranted for improving understanding of the ecology, epidemiology and pathophysiology of porcine enteroviruses generally and Sapelovirus A specifically. To date, sapeloviruses detected in other species have not been reported to be associated with nervous disease. In the case reported here, a novel sapelovirus was the only agent detected associated with a unique clinical presentation of neurologic disease. At least one previous case report documents the neuroinvasive potential of porcine sapelovirus in swine3. A direct causal link between PSV and encephalomyelitis in swine remains to be proven and significant knowledge gaps in epidemiology, pathogenesis and biologic relevance of this potential pathogen remain. The Swine Health Information Center has created guidelines for identification and reporting of CNS cases and more information can be found at swinehealth.org/neurologic-syndromes.

References
1. Paulo Arruda, Kent Schwartz, Bailey Arruda, Albert Rovira, Jerome Nietfeld, Paul Sundberg, Ben Hause. Identification of a divergent strain of Sapelovirus associated with a severe polioencephalomyelitis outbreak in the United States. www.swinehealth.org/sapelovirus

2. Son, K.Y., Kim, D.S., Kwon, J., Choi, J.S., Kang, M.I., Belsham, G.J., Cho, K.O. 2014: Full-length genomic analysis of Korean porcine Sapelovirus strains. PLos One. 9, e107860

3. Schock A., Gurrala R., Fuller H., Foyle L., Dauber M., Martelli F., Scholes S., Roberts L., Steinbach F., Dastjerdi A. (2014) Investigation into an outbreak of encephalomyelitis caused by a neuroinvasive porcine sapelovirus in the United Kingdom. Vet Microbiol 172, 381-389.

Global investors ask Walmart and others to cut meat

Members of the modern environmental and animal rights activist movement probably think they are waking up to a bad nightmare on Monday morning as one of its beloved news sources, Treehugger.com, reports that meat-eating is on the rise

“So much for all those Meatless Mondays. The message that it’s important to cut back on meat is not getting through to Americans, who continue to pound back the pounds of beef, chicken and pork at an exponential rate,” writes senior write Katherine Martinko.

This news comes at a time when the anti-meat movement started celebrating the notion that meat consumption was on the decline.

As Martinko correctly reports the facts from Rabobank Food and Agribusiness research team, the news is not surprising to anyone in the meat or poultry industry and it’s perhaps little stale. Rabobank’s report only confirms what the pork industry already knows — consumers did not lose their appetite for meat. They just did not have the disposable income to enjoy it in larger quantities.

Still, it is hard to ignore the furied work of anti-meat campaigns in wake of the Rabobank report that was released back in July. The report certainly made an impact.

Last week, a group of 40 global investors — managing $1.25 trillion in assets — sent a letter to 16 global food companies. The Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return Initiative is urging companies like Kraft Heinz, Nestle, Unilever, Tesco, Walmart and General Mills to change the way they source protein for their products to help to reduce environmental and health risks.

The letter was prompted by the recently released University of Oxford study suggesting that if unaddressed, the public health and environmental expenses associated with the increased demand for animal products could be up to $1.6 trillion globally by 2050.

So, just exactly how does FAIRR want these companies to source protein products differently?

Straight from FAIRR: The call for sustainable protein supply chains is not a demand for ruling out animal products entirely, though some companies and consumers will identify that as the commitment they want to make. From a health and sustainability perspective, a varied diet that includes some animal products should mean:

♦ Diversifying the range of protein on offer and prioritizing choices that have less impact on health, land, water and the climate: for example, opting for sustainably sourced fish or poultry instead of beef, or beans instead of pork.

♦ Moving away from meat and dairy as the dominant ingredient in every menu option to instead making them an occasional complement to a meal.

♦ Selecting lean cuts for meals that do feature meat, and reducing or eliminating the use of red and processed meat (such as bacon, ham and sausages).

♦ Sourcing food that meets a credible certified standard — like Animal Welfare Approved or the Global Animal Partnership for high-welfare methods of farming in the United States, the Marine Stewardship Council certification for sustainable fish, the Soil Association for organic certification in the United Kingdom.

♦ Producing and procuring appealing and accessible alternatives to meat based on plant proteins and new food tech innovations

In my opinion, those options sound like a loud cry to end the consumption of animal products — red meat, dairy, eggs and poultry based on an Oxford study that is highly debated in itself. Even mainstream media quickly grabbed onto the news that a group of investors are asking food companies to sell less meat — switch protein in products to plant-based products.

Despite your buy-in to the Oxford study, have we lost focus of freedom of food choices, the important nutritional value animal-based protein and the accurate science on the true environmental footprint of animal agriculture?

UN member countries address antibiotic resistance

UN member countries address antibiotic resistance

The United Nations General Assembly held a meeting of world leaders to address the overuse of antibiotics for both humans and animals and the need to develop new medicines because of the concern that drug-resistant germs could lead to millions of deaths worldwide and undermine the world economy.

The U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that antimicrobial resistance poses “a fundamental, long-term threat to human health, sustainable food production and development.”

The 193 member nations adopted by unanimous vote a declaration that encourages countries to develop a two-year plan to establish ways to monitor the use of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture, reduce antibiotic use, make better use of vaccines to prevent infections and fund development of new drugs. This is only the fourth time the U.N. has urged world leaders to address a health issue.

Obama nominates ambassador to Cuba
President Obama has nominated Jeffrey DeLaurentis to be the U.S. ambassador to Cuba. Obama says, DeLaurentis “has been vital throughout the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba, and the appointment of an ambassador is a common sense step forward toward a more normal and productive relationship between our two countries.”

The nomination is expected to receive strong opposition from various Senators including Marco Rubio (FL-R) and Ted Cruz (TX-R) who have stated they would block any ambassador nomination to Cuba. The United States and Cuba announced the two countries were restoring diplomatic relations in July of 2015.

China goes after U.S. DDGs with countervailing duties
China announced it was imposing countervailing duties on U.S. dried distiller’s grains import. The duties will be between 10% and 10.7% to “counter” U.S. subsidies.

In a joint statement, the U.S. Grains Council, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association say, “We are disappointed that the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China has issued a preliminary determination claiming U.S. dried distiller’s grains with or without solubles are being unfairly subsidized by U.S. government entities and have caused injury to the China’s DDGS industry. U.S. DDGS have not caused any injury to China’s DDGS producers.”

No shutdown of federal government
The fiscal year ’17 Continuing Resolution is on its way to the White House for the president’s approval after both the House and Senate passed it before leaving town until after the election.

The CR funds the federal government until Dec. 9. It also provides funding for combatting the Zika virus and flooding in Louisiana. These were two continuous items that had to be resolved before the bill could pass.

Another issue that had to be resolved before the CR could pass was funding for Flint, Mich., concerning lead contamination of the city’s water. Funding for this project was put in the Water Resources Development Act bill that Congress will consider when it returns after the election. Congress is in recess until Nov. 14 when it returns for the lame-duck session to finalize the FY ’17 appropriations.