READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, July 12th…

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House Plans Action on GMO Labeling as Conaway Offers Reluctant Support

The U.S. House of Representatives will consider the Senate’s genetically modified organism food labeling bill this week. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, announced the House would consider the bill before the chamber adjourns Friday until September. The House Rules Committee will meet to consider the legislation Tuesday (this) afternoon, before the measure will be considered by the full chamber, according to the Hagstrom Report. The bill is a bipartisan compromise written by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas and ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, but the bill is technically an amendment to a House bill. House Agriculture Committee Chair Mike Conaway, a Texas Republican, said last week that he finds the legislation to be “problematic,” but offered his support to the amendment. Conaway said he “will never fully support federally mandating,” but added that it was his “intention to support the bill.”

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U.S. Chicken Consumption Continues to Increase

Chicken consumption in the United States continues to increase, according to the National Chicken Council. New research announced Monday at the 2016 Chicken Marketing Summit shows nine out of ten consumers frequently consume chicken. NCC commissioned the study in June. The results found in the two weeks leading up to the survey, 87 percent of consumers ate a chicken meal or snack purchased from a supermarket and 72 percent ate a chicken meal or snack from a food service establishment. Just more than 1,000 consumers participated in the survey that shows in the next 12 months, 21 percent of consumers anticipate eating more chicken from the supermarket, and 14 percent anticipate eating more from a food service establishment. Consumers with the highest consumption levels tend to skew younger with larger households. Among gender, total chicken consumption was split right down the middle – 50 percent female and 50 percent male.

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Consumers Backing Away from Higher Priced Cage-Free Eggs

As more companies pledge to source eggs from cage-free hens, research shows consumers are backing away from the higher priced products. Marketplace Sustainability’s website reports that despite the wave of companies going cage-free, the premium-priced eggs are not selling well. The sluggish sales reportedly are making producers hesitate to invest in cage-free systems. The sales figures indicate a reversal from research last year because avian influenza increased all egg prices higher. Now, conventional egg prices are down considerably, making cage-free eggs pricey by comparison. One egg market analyst asked “now they (consumers) go into a store, and you can buy a couple dozen in some cases for under a buck, are you going to still pay $2-$3 for cage-free eggs?” while adding that cage-free sales are suffering. The changes have prompted some producers to delay or even cancel their orders for cage-free equipment from leading providers of cage-free housing.

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Cargill Selling Texas Feedlot Businesses

Cargill announced the private company will sell two of its beef cattle feed yards in Bovina and Dalhart Texas to Amarillo-based Friona Industries. In a company news release, Cargill says terms of the deal are not being disclosed and finalization will take place upon the completion of agreements and any required regulatory reviews. Cargill will retain its cattle feed yards in Colorado and Kansas. The sale is the latest in Cargill’s move to cut cost and refocus its operations by exiting some lower-margin businesses. Just last week, Agrium announced it will purchase Cargill’s agriculture retail business in the United States. John Keating, president of Cargill’s beef business, says selling the feed yards in the Texas Panhandle allows the company to “redeploy many tens of millions of dollars annually into investments that will help us grow our protein business.” The approximately 90 people who currently work at Cargill’s Bovina and Dalhart feed yards will be offered positions with Friona Industries.

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China Reports Soft Inflation Data

China’s Consumer Price Index climbed 1.9 percent in June from a year ago, while analysts had expected a 1.8 percent gain. Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today reports that in May, inflation stood at two percent above year-ago levels. This was the slowest pace of inflation since January, reinforcing ideas that more government stimulus is needed. China’s food prices climbed 4.6 percent in June, versus a 5.9 percent gain the month prior. Of note, pork prices are up 30.1 percent from year-ago levels. Non-food prices are up 1.2 percent from this time last year, versus a 1.1 percent gain in May. The Producer Price Index fell 2.6 percent in June, compared to June 2015, whereas analysts had expected a 2.5 percent drop. However, that figure stands as an improvement from a 2.8 percent drop in May.

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Vilsack Proclaims August 7-13 National Farmers Market Week

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Monday signed a proclamation declaring the week of August 7th as “National Farmers Market Week.” This year marks the 17th annual National Farmers Market Week to honor and celebrate farmers markets. Vilsack says “National Farmers Market Week recognizes the growth of these markets and their role in supporting both urban and rural communities.” Throughout the week, officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture will celebrate at farmers market locations across the country. To help celebrate National Farmers Market Week, USDA is sharing online free farmers market-related graphics that market managers and others can use to promotional materials. The resources can be found at AMS dot USDA dot gov (www.ams.usda.gov/resources/NFMW).

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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