READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, October 7th…

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Global Food Prices Continue Upward Trend

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says global food prices continue to increase. The September Food Price Index released Thursday increased five points, or near three percent, over the August reading to an average of 170.9. The September value is the highest since March 2015. While cereal grain prices were down two percent, vegetable oil, along with dairy and sugar prices were higher. Global dairy prices logged the biggest increase over the last month, up 13.8 percent in September, compared with August. The dairy index has increased by 38 percent since April of this year. Global sugar prices were up 6.7 percent in the latest report, the fifth consecutive monthly increase. Meat prices remained stable month-to-month.


Agriculture Could Mingle into Next Presidential Debate

Agriculture could enter the spotlight at the next debate between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Sunday at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri. Politico reports an agriculture question is “more likely than you think,” but not from a favored agricultural source. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, has submitted a question regarding animal agriculture for consideration by ABC and CNN. The proposed question: “The U.S. is set to miss its 2025 environmental targets. Given that animal agriculture produces 51 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions, will you protect the environment by promoting a plant-based lifestyle?” As Politico reports, the proposed question “really could make it.” ABC and CNN are using an online voting system for questions and will consider the 30 most popular questions. As of Thursday afternoon, the question was 28th most popular with more than 12,000 votes. Four of the current top 30 questions mention climate change, while another addresses food security. The voting is online at Presidential Open Questions dot com (


Cargill Launching Traceable Beef Brand

Cargill Meats is gearing up to launch its Pasture Crafted beef brand, which the company says will be “guaranteed tender and traceable to birth on sustainably operated ranches.” The brand will be grass-fed and grain finished, according to Meatingplace. A Cargill Meats spokesperson called the move a business adjustment to “provide the products that people want and the information that they want about that product.” The Pasture Crafted brand is “designed for the socially conscious beef consumer who can’t afford to go all the way to organic,” according to Cargill’s website. The company has yet to announce when the Pasture Crafted line will be available for sale.

China Businessman Sentenced Three Years for Stealing Seed Trade Secrets

A businessman from China will serve three years in prison after being caught rummaging through Iowa cornfields to learn trade secrets from U.S. seed corn companies. The Des Moines Register reports the man known as Robert Mo was taking seed from the Midwest and shipping it to China. He was found by DuPont Pioneer security guards in 2011 digging in a corn field where test plots of new seed corn varieties were growing. He was arrested in 2013, but five other coworkers fled the U.S. before they could be arrested. Prosecutors say he traveled the Midwest working for Kings Nower Seed, a subsidiary of a technology conglomerate in China, to take corn seed and ship it to China so scientists could attempt to reproduce its genetic traits. He pled guilty in January and was sentenced to three years in prison this week.

U.S. Imports of Vietnam Rice lower on Pesticide Violations

Vietnam is under new scrutiny for violating U.S. food safety regulations. The Food and Drug Administration has rejected 95 shipping containers of jasmine rice from Vietnam between January and August of this year. The FDA says the imports were rejected because of illegal pesticide residue in all but one of the cases. USA Rice Federation CEO Betsy Ward responded “we are, frankly, happy with the disruption,” because “there is no need to import jasmine rice from more than 11,000 miles away when we grow it in the United States.” For the three marketing years from 2013-2015, rice imports from Vietnam have averaged more than 63,000 metric tons with an annual value of more than $33 million. Rice imports from Vietnam for the 2016 marketing year, which concluded in July and includes the rice shipment rejections, were just over 35,600 metric tons with a value of almost $21 million.

Government, States in Germany, Agree to All or Nothing GMO Ban

A draft law reportedly agreed to by all German ministers would make the decision of whether to ban the cultivation of genetically engineered crops a joint decision by Germany’s federal and state governments in the future. In March of last year, the European Union cleared the way for approval of new GMO crops but gave individual countries the right to ban GMO crops even after they have been approved. Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today reports that in September of 2015, Germany told the EU it would not permit the cultivation of GMO crops. However, there has been disagreement whether the ban should be undertaken by federal or state authorities. Government sources say the draft law will now be discussed with the states and industry associations before it is likely to go to the Cabinet of Germany, the chief executive body of Germany, next month.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service