READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, July 5th…

CLICK HERE to listen to TODAY's BARN Morning Ag News with Brian Allmer...

CLICK HERE to listen to TODAY’s BARN Morning Ag News with Brian Allmer…

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Vermont Labeling Law in Effect

Despite years of lobbying and pressure from food and agriculture groups, Vermont’s GMO labeling law took effect Friday. However, the law may be short lived with action in the U.S. Senate planned this week on a national law that would preempt state laws. While enforcement of the Vermont law will not start until next year, if the measure still stands by then, Vermont still celebrated the law in the state’s capitol, according to Politico. But, Wednesday brings a cloture vote in the U.S. Senate on a compromise bill that would preempt state laws and make GMO labeling mandatory across the nation. In a test vote last week, senators backed moving ahead with the measure, 68-29. Votes could change when the bill comes up for cloture and then a vote on final passage. While as expected, Vermont’s Senators oppose the bill, farm-state Democrats largely supported the Roberts-Stabenow compromise last week.


Brexit Could Bring Market, Policy Impacts for U.S. Grains

Britain’s decision last month to leave the European Union could have both market and trade policy effects on the U.S. grain industry, though the U.S. Grains Council says exactly how the change could impact farmers’ bottom lines is among the many questions. The EU does not import large volumes of U.S. corn due to trade barriers related to biotechnology. Overall, the total value of all types of U.S. feed grain and related products that were exported in the 2014/2015 marketing year was about $745 million. Though the initial grain market impact eased quickly, USGC says follow-on effects on exports could be seen from a stronger U.S. dollar. Markets might also face negative impacts from Brexit on the euro area and, to a lesser extent, the global economy, affecting demand for grain and the meat it produces. However, the largest and longest-term impacts of the Brexit on grains could come from the trade policy arena, not the marketplace. The Grains Council says the vote will put the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership talks between the United States and the European Union in potential jeopardy.


Lawsuit Filed Against Hormel’s “Natural” Products

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is suing Hormel Foods over Hormel’s labels describing some pork products as “natural,” claiming the labels are deceiving to customers. The ALDF filed the lawsuit last week in Washington, DC. Meatingplace reports the complaint takes aim at the processor’s Natural Choice brand of lunch meats and bacon, pitting its slogan “Make the Natural Choice” and claims like “100 percent Natural” and “All-Natural” against consumers’ understanding of what “natural” means. The lawsuit cites Consumer Reports research that found most consumers believe “natural” to mean animals were raised using “sustainable” farming techniques on “independent” family farms, and the products are free of artificial ingredients. USDA’s definition of “natural” is: “A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed.”

Canada Proposes Stronger Rules for Antimicrobial Drugs

A government agency in Canada is proposing stronger rules for antimicrobial drugs to combat antimicrobial resistance. Health Canada, the nation’s government department responsible for national public health, proposed the regulations last week. The department is seeking feedback on a regulatory proposal that would strengthen rules governing the importation, sale and use of antibiotics in livestock. In a news release, Health Canada said the decreasing effectiveness of antibiotics is having a significant impact on the department’s ability to protect people from infectious diseases. The department says antibiotics also have profound impacts on Canada’s healthcare system, global trade, agriculture, environment and health sectors. The proposed changes would restrict the importation of certain veterinary drugs, require drug manufacturers to follow stricter rules, require the provision of sales information to regulators to allow for improved monitoring of antimicrobial use, and introduce an easier way for manufacturers to sell low-risk veterinary health products.


Third largest Hog Producer using Wheat in Feed

The Maschhoffs, a family owned company that is the nation’s third-largest hog producer, says the plunge in wheat prices has the company using wheat in feed rations. Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today Reports typically, hogs eat a mix of around 80 percent corn and 20 percent soybean meal, but that mix can vary based on the availability of attractive alternatives like distillers’ dried grains. Wheat is normally too expensive to feed to animals, but record-setting yield reports as winter wheat harvest progresses has sent prices lower and made the grain viable as a feed ration. Wheat has higher protein levels than corn, which economist calculate make it the better buy once it is less than 110 percent the price of corn. The company detailed that wheat can replace around 50 percent of corn for young pigs and 100 percent for adult pigs.

USDA Announces Support for Next Generation Farmers

The Department of Agriculture last week announced $8.4 million of competitive grants to support USDA partner organizations that benefit minority farmers. The funding seeks to support training, outreach and technical assistance for socially disadvantaged, Tribal and Veteran farmers and ranchers. Acting Deputy Agriculture Secretary Michael Scuse says “diverse experiences, background and education are vital to a healthy agricultural sector.” Since 2010, more than $74 million has been invested through the 2501 Program to leverage the work of more than 300 local partners. The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized the program and expanded assistance to include military veterans. Proposals for these competitive grants must be received by July 29th, 2016, at grants dot gov (

SOURCE: NAFB News Service