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Chicken industry provides online answers


December 23, 2015 | Upset that activists, food companies and even some retailers have been putting out erroneous information about how broilers are raised, the National Chicken Council has established “Chicken Check In,” a website to help consumers and the companies that buy chicken find out how the birds are raised, processed and transported. …

COOL repeal means any meat labeling moves to FSIS


December 23, 2015 | Although most of U.S. agriculture and the Canadian and Mexican governments fought hard to convince Congress to repeal mandatory country-of-origin labeling for beef and pork, that doesn't mean the issue goes away. …

Soybean, cotton growers not happy with Nairobi deal


December 23, 2015 | The American Soybean Association said Tuesday that it is disappointed in the World Trade Organization’s ministerial declaration from Nairobi that developing countries can continue to use export subsidies. …

Stewart firm publishes Nairobi details


December 23, 2015 | The Stewart and Stewart law firm has published a detailed analysis of the World Trade Organization Ministerial Declaration from the meeting in Nairobi. …

OTA to ask USDA for ‘transitional’ organic designation


December 23, 2015 | The Organic Trade Association will ask the Agriculture Department’s Agricultural Marketing Service to establish a “transitional” organic designation for farmers who are converting their land to organic production, Laura Batcha, the OTA executive director, told reporters at an end-of-year briefing last week. …

Farm groups ask EPA to keep Enlist Duo registration


December 23, 2015 | Six key farm groups asked Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy on Tuesday to withdraw its request to a court to vacate the registration for Dow’s Enlist Duo herbicide. …

CHC highlights 2016 nutrition issues


December 23, 2015 | One of the issues holding up the reauthorization of child nutrition programs is a disagreement over increased verification requirements for students participating in school meal programs, the Congressional Hunger Center said in an end-of-the-year message to its supporters. …

Noma founder speaks at Danish Embassy


December 23, 2015 | Nordic food can be just as healthy as the Mediterranean diet and just as fine as French cuisine, Claus Meyer said in a speech at the Danish Embassy Christmas reception hosted this month by Ambassador Lars Gert Lose and Mrs. Ulla Rønberg. …

Swiss firm to buy Rural Community Insurance Services


December 23, 2015 | Zurich Insurance Group AG has agreed to buy Rural Community Insurance Services from Wells Fargo & Co. for as much as $1.05 billion, Bloomberg has reported. …

Finberg named new AmeriCorps VISTA director


December 23, 2015 | Max Finberg, who has held several positions in the Agriculture Department during the Obama administration, is the new director of AmeriCorps VISTA. …

Downton Abbey landowners have problems too


December 23, 2015 | American farmers and landowners may think they have problems at the holidays, but there are problems upstairs and downstairs at Downton Abbey on a fun video that the PBS show’s actors made to raise money for charities in a promotion run by iTV, a television network in the United Kingdom. …

Punke explains thinking behind ‘end’ of Doha round


December 22, 2015 | Last weekend the World Trade Organization ministerial declaration did not reaffirm the continuation of the Doha Development Agenda, as the Doha round has been formally known since it was launched in 2001, although the declaration did note that some WTO member countries still affirm the Doha mandates. In this interview, conducted in 2013 at the U.S. mission to Geneva, but never published, Michael Punke, the deputy U.S. trade representative and U.S. permanent representative to the WTO — the equivalent of ambassador — explains the difficulties that had beset the Doha round. …

Farm Bureau praises WTO ag deal, others uncertain


December 22, 2015 | American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman this week praised the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference for “a strong agreement on export competition and setting a new direction for agricultural trade negotiations.” …

FSIS developing ‘geographic claims’ guidance for beef, pork


December 22, 2015 | The Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service will no longer enforce country-of-origin labeling requirements for beef and pork, but it is also developing guidance for companies that may wish to make “geographic claims,” according to an FSIS memo to inspection personnel issued Monday. …

Mayors Conference reports need for food aid up again


December 22, 2015 | More than half of 22 cities surveyed reported that the number of requests for emergency food assistance increased over the past year and officials expect requests to go up more, the U.S. Conference of Mayors said today in its annual “Hunger and Homelessness Survey.” …

Nestlé commits to eggs from cage-free chickens


December 22, 2015 | Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, today announced that it will transition to using eggs only from cage-free chickens in all of its U.S. food products by 2020. …

Wild bees declining in farming areas


December 22, 2015 | The first national study to map U.S. wild bees suggests they’re disappearing in many of the country’s most important farmlands — including California’s Central Valley, the Midwest’s corn belt and the Mississippi River valley, researchers at the University of Vermont reported this week. …

Conaway says no more money for CFTC until reauthorization


December 22, 2015 | House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, said Monday that he is determined to enact reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission next year, and that he will not support an increase in the CFTC budget until reauthorization takes place. …

Japan Embassy promotes aged Suntory whiskey


December 22, 2015 | The celebration of the Japanese emperor’s birthday on December 10 at the residence of the Japanese ambassador to the United States provided an opportunity for Americans to taste Yamazaki, a 12-year aged single malt whiskey that is a premium product of Suntory, the Japanese whiskey company formed in 1923. …

CFTC pushes back against lack of funding, congressional criticism


December 21, 2015 | In a sign of a budget battle to come next year, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission is pushing back at Congress for not providing any of the additional funds President Barack Obama requested to allow the agency to improve enforcement under the Dodd-Frank Act and House appropriators’ statements that the agency needs to rein in rental leasing costs. …

EPA turns aggressive on Clean Water Rule (WOTUS)


December 21, 2015 | The Environmental Protection Agency “won’t back down from our mission” on the Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the United States rule, Liz Purchia, the EPA acting associate administrator for public affairs, wrote late last week on a blog post on the EPA site. …

AMS says it is working on IG recommendations


December 21, 2015 | The Agriculture Department inspector general last week released an evaluation critical of the Agriculture Marketing Service's Process Verified Program, but the AMS said it is already working to implement the IG’s recommendations. …

Children’s Food and Beverage Initiative publishes report


December 21, 2015 | The Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, a project of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, issued an annual report issued today covering the activities of 18 companies that produce children’s food and beverages. …

Farm Bureau undertakes online survey of farmers


December 21, 2015 | The American Farm Bureau Federation announced today that it will collect feedback from farmers and ranchers about their experiences with 10 Agriculture Department programs housed in three agencies. …

USDA to honor Stallman as he retires


December 21, 2015 | Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden announced today that they will honor American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman before the Farm Bureau meets in early January. …

Obama nominates Johanns for MCC board


December 21, 2015 | President Barack Obama has announced his intention to nominate former Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., also a former Agriculture secretary and governor of Nebraska, to the board of the Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC). …

Obama works out after dining at Morimoto


December 21, 2015 | President Barack Obama worked out at the gym at Marine Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, today after dining Sunday evening with family and friends at Morimoto Waikiki, an upscale Japanese restaurant, according to White House press pool reports. …

Gordley Associates celebrates holidays with ribs


December 21, 2015 | Gordley Associates, a firm which represents the American Soybean Association and other farm groups in Washington, on Friday welcomed a few friends to their offices for a holiday luncheon of ribs shipped in from Charlie Vergo’s Rendezvous in Memphis. …