Public health groups are suing FDA to force the agency to phase out certain medically important antibiotics in animal agriculture. FDA denied a 2021 petition filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and other groups to ban the use of medically important antibiotics in livestock and poultry that aren’t sick.
“FDA’s denial failed to address the petition’s core concern that use of medically important antibiotics for so-called disease prevention purposes in livestock and poultry poses a significant threat to human health” by contributing to antibiotic resistance, the groups say in a release.
Plaintiffs in the case filed in the Southern District of Maryland include Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT), NRDC, and Public Citizen. Earthjustice will serve as co-counsel with NRDC.
Dairy producers, processors seeking common ground
Discussions have been taking place this week in Orlando around ways to reform federal milk pricing regulations. The talks on the sidelines of the International Dairy Foods Association’s annual Dairy Forum are focused on finding a united industry approach on a petition to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack seeking a federal milk marketing order hearing.
Vilsack has said he wants to see the industry unite around planned reforms before considering modifications in pricing regulations.
Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative CEO Tim Trotter says his team has taken part in numerous conversations with members of the National Milk Producers Federation and IDFA. (Edge is not a member of NMPF.) “These discussions will likely be ongoing now for the coming weeks and months, tackling both the farm bill and a federal order hearing,” Trotter says.
Take note: Officials with NMPF and IDFA will be meeting the week of Feb. 20 in hopes of presenting a proposal to their boards in March.
For more on the issue, read our Agri-Pulse weekly newsletter. We also look at some issues around the federal crop insurance program.
West Coast dairy producers could migrate to Midwest
Some California dairy producers are looking to move to the Midwest to lower their production costs, according to Katie Burgess, director of risk management at Ever.Ag, an ag technology company.
California producers face costs $2 to $3 per hundredweight higher than their Midwest counterparts pay, Burgess says. “If you put yourselves in the shoes of a dairy producer, the outlook for the next 12 months is as dim as it has been,” Burgess says. She spoke on a panel at the Dairy Forum.
The I-29 corridor in particular is a “hotspot” for dairy farm expansion, she says.
Bottom line: Sara Dorland, managing partner for Ceres Dairy Risk Management, says dairies will move to where water and feed are available. In the late 1980s and early ’90s, there was a great migration of dairies to the West because of expansive amounts of land, water and inexpensive feed.
“I don’t think that means we’re going to turn the lights off on the West. But I do think it just means we could see a bit more consolidation,” Dorland said. California’s dairy production will help service the growing demand for dairy exports to China and southeast Asia.
Global export restrictions decline
Panic over food supplies spiked in the early months of the war between Russia and Ukraine, spurring countries like Indonesia and India to curb exports of agricultural commodities. But export restrictions are now on the decline, and prices have returned to pre-war levels, according to an analysis by the International Food Policy Research Institute.
Export controls on commodities like palm oil, wheat and corn reached a high with restrictions on more than 5% of globally traded food, as measured on a calorie basis, but that has dropped to just 3.2%, according to the IFPRI analysis.
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“Almost a year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, global market prices for key food items have returned to pre-war levels,” said IFPI senior research fellows Joseph Glauber and David Laborde. “The war continues, but the share of exports affected by export restrictions has fallen by over 50% from its May peak, while the measures themselves appear to be less consequential than many anticipated.”
USDA names Haiti among priorities for McGovern-Dole in FY 2023
The USDA will prioritize grant requests under the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program in fiscal 2023 for projects that help Haiti, Cameroon, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, and Togo.
“These countries have demonstrated significant need, a national government commitment to school feeding programs, and shared views on global food security, agricultural sustainability, and key international initiatives,” USDA says.
USDA will be awarding as much as $224 million to fund McGovern-Dole this fiscal year.
He said it. "The ability to produce renewable fuels, including biofuels that have substantially less carbon emissions — it’s a big, big deal and there’s not been nearly enough understanding of that by this administration." - Former Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., on the sidelines of the Clean Fuels Conference in Tampa.
He said EPA officials need to spend time talking to farmers and others in the biofuel industry about its production capacity.
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