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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News as heard inside the BARN for July 5th…

Posted by Brian Allmer on July 5, 2013

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Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

“Waiver of New Rule a Victory for Livestock and Poultry Farmers”

The Department of Transportation has indicated it will grant a 90-day waiver of a new hours-of-service rule for drivers transporting livestock and poultry. According to the National Pork Producers Council – this is a major victory for America’s hog, cattle and poultry farmers. NPPC joined 13 other livestock, poultry and food organizations last month in a letter petitioning the DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for the 90-day waiver and exemption from complying with the new rule. The rule – effective July 1st – requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute rest break for every eight consecutive hours of service. For drivers hauling livestock – the hours of service would include time loading and unloading animals. The groups said the regulation would cause livestock producers and their drivers irreparable harm, place the health and welfare of the livestock in their care at risk and provide no apparent increased benefit to public safety while forcing the livestock industry and its drivers to choose between the humane handling of animals or complying with the regulation.

NPPC President Randy Spronk says the decision to grant a waiver will help ensure the continued humane treatment and welfare of livestock while traveling on the nation’s highways. He says the waiver will ensure livestock won’t be sitting in the sun for extended periods during hot summer months with drivers unable to care for them because they’re required to take a 30-minute break. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration informed NPPC of the decision to issue the 90-day waiver Wednesday morning. Official notice of the decision is expected to be published in the Federal Register next week.

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“Farm Bureau Pleased with Delay of ACA Employer Mandate”

The Obama Administration is delaying the Affordable Care Act requirement that businesses with more than 50 employees provide health insurance to their workers or pay a penalty until 2015. American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman says the one-year delay will allow the Administration to streamline the process for complying and provide farm employers with the information they need to follow the law. According to Stallman – many farmers have been confused about their obligations under the healthcare law from the start because they employ a workforce that is both seasonal and transitory. He says the proposed rules regarding what farm employers need to do to comply are complex – raising many questions about responsibility under the law. Stallman says Farm Bureau commends the Administration for addressing the issue and looks forward to simpler direction so farm employers will know what they have to do to comply with the law.

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“Findings of 2013 Global Food Security Index Released”

The Economist Intelligence Unit has issued findings from the annual Global Food Security Index. This first-of-its kind ranking tool comprehensively measures food security and monitors the ongoing impact of agriculture investments, collaborations and policies around the world. This year’s Index expands on 25 previously identified food security indicators to determine how two new factors – political corruption and urbanization – affect access to safe, nutritious and affordable food. The Index also includes Singapore and Ireland in the comparison of 107 countries – designed to track progress, foster collaboration and create real-world solutions to help feed the billions of people on the planet. The average 2013 Global Food Index Score remained flat at 53.5-percent – compared to 53.6-percent in 2012. Global Forecasting Director for the Economist Intelligence Unit Leo Abruzzese says hundreds of hours went into collecting and analyzing data for the index so the factors that help and hinder food security can be better understood.

DuPont commissioned the first Global Food Security Index last year. Since that time – DuPont Pioneer President Paul Schickler says the Index has been used by governments, non-governmental organizations and academics as a roadmap to identify critical food security issues and make better informed decisions, develop collaborative partnerships and create effective local policies to address country-specific needs. According to Abruzzese – the goal is to provide a comprehensive, global picture of food security so stakeholders like DuPont can work with partners in vulnerable areas of the world where food insecurity is a serious concern.

DuPont formed a joint partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Ethiopian Government – using the 2012 Index findings as a guide – to help smallholder farmers access better seeds and increase productivity. The Sub-Saharan African nation jumped several spots on the Index this year as a result of this new program and other advances.

For more information on the interactive Global Food Security Index, including definitions of the 27 global indicators, food price tracking, multi-country comparisons and more, visit foodsecurityindex dot eiu dot com (http://foodsecurityindex.eiu.com/).

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“Chefs Learn About Beef Production During Pasture-to-Plate Tour”

The Kansas Beef Council hosted chefs, foodservice professionals and restaurant operators from 12 states for the annual Pasture-to-Plate Tour. The checkoff-funded tour of the beef industry is designed to show influential people in the food business all stages of beef production. Attendees got a look at product research and development at the Cargill Innovations Center in Wichita and made stops at Woolfolk Ranch, Gardiner Angus Ranch, Midwest Feeders, JO Cattle Company and the Cargill Meat Solutions processing plant. Tour participants also heard from Kansas State University Veterinarian Dan Thomson and were exposed to technology used in crop production. Since those attending the tour are often on the front lines when it comes to answering customer questions – the checkoff believes it’s important to educate them with knowledge about production practices to provide them with tools they can use in their daily interactions with customers.

Applebee’s Corporate Chef Melissa Haupt was one of the tour guests. She was impressed with the passion, pride and responsibility producers take in raising their animals. Culinary Arts and Hotel Restaurant Management Instructor Kevin McCarthy plans to include what he learned in all of his classes. He says Paul Smith’s College in New York – where he teaches – is big on sustainability and sustainable agriculture. McCarthy believes it’s important to have the chance to present to students what is happening in the industry and that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the mass production beef industry in Kansas.

Kansas Beef Council was the primary host of the Pasture-to-Plate Tour. The beef councils of Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah also participated in the event.

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“Walmart’s Month-Long Promotion of Pork Coming to a Close”

Walmart has been highlighting pork chops and ribs as part of a high-impact pork grilling promotion with the Checkoff for the last month. Walmart has featured pork in its national advertising circulars, national radio advertisements and online advertisements. Pork Checkoff National Retail Marketing Manager Rob Kirchofer says no one spreads a value message like Walmart. He adds the retail giant is a great partner because its customers fit the Checkoff’s target market. The Walmart campaign – which continues through the weekend – has promoted the Checkoff’s Grill Pork Like a Steak message. Kirchofer says the Checkoff is focused on letting customers know they don’t need to have a pantry full of ingredients to enjoy pork. With a little salt, pepper and a grill – he says they can let the great flavor and versatility of pork take over – just as with their favorite beef steak.

Walmart has also hosted a series of live grilling challenges at select stores leading up to the 2013 ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans. Regional winners will compete for the top prize at the ESSENCE Family Reunion Day Food Experience Stage powered by Walmart – which kicks off the festival and celebrates food, music and culture today (July 4th) through the 7th.

As the world’s largest retailer – Kirchofer says Walmart gives pork producers a lot of bang for their Checkoff investment. He says producers appreciate the opportunity to work with Walmart and look forward to partnering again in the future.

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“Corn Board Elects NCGA First Vice President”

The National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board has elected Chip Bowling of Maryland to become the organization’s First Vice President for the next fiscal year. Bowling is a third-generation farmer operating a 14-hundred acre grain farm just an hour outside of the nation’s capital. In 2004 and 2005 – Bowling served as President of the Maryland Grain Producers Association. From there – he found he was becoming more and more involved with NCGA. That’s why he went through Leadership at Its Best and was in the inaugural class for the Advanced Leadership Academy. Bowling has served on NCGA’s Ethanol Committee and Public Policy Action Team. He has also testified before Congress on NCGA’s behalf. Bowling has an open leadership style and likes to let everyone voice their opinion before making a decision. He keeps an open mind and likes to think things through. Bowling says when you work together – it’s easier on everyone and you can get more done.

The full delegate body will vote to confirm Bowling’s appointment later this month during Corn Congress. He would become First Vice President October 1st – as current Vice President Martin Barbre becomes President and current President Pam Johnson becomes Chairwoman.

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“Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Winners Announced”

The winners of a nationwide recipe challenge to promote healthy lunches as part of the Let’s Move initiative have been announced. First Lady Michelle Obama will host the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge and Kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House to recognize the 54 winners. The group – representing all U.S. states, three territories and the District of Columbia – will join Mrs. Obama for a healthy lunch that features a selection of the winning recipes, a performance by singer Rachel Crow and a visit to the White House kitchen garden. The First Lady says the Kids’ State Dinner is one of her favorite events of the year.

This is the second year parents were invited to work with their child aged eight to 12 to create a healthy, affordable, original and delicious lunchtime recipe. In support of the Let’s Move initiative launched by the First Lady to help solve the problem of childhood obesity – each recipe adhered to the guidance that supports USDA’s My Plate to ensure the criteria of a healthy meal were met. Entries had to represent each of the food groups – either in one dish or as parts of a lunch meal. More than 13-hundred entries were received. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says it’s exciting our young people have harnessed their creativity to come up with fresh, new recipes that are nutritious and healthy. U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge makes healthy eating fun and educational. He says taking steps to help young people adopt healthy eating habits provides them important tools that will last a lifetime.

The winners were selected by a panel of judges including Epicurious Editor-in-Chief Tanya Steel – who says some very sophisticated recipe entries were received this year. Some of the winning recipes are Sweet Potato Turkey Sliders, Fun Mini Pizzas with Veggies and Cauliflower Crust, Raisin Bran Muffins, Spinach Frittata and Hidden Veggie Lasagna. For a full list of winners and recipes – visit recipechallenge dot epicurious dot com (www.recipechallenge.epicurious.com). A free downloadable and printable e-cookbook of the winning recipes will be available this month on several websites – including USDA dot gov (www.usda.gov).

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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