Thursday, September 28, 2017

Thursday September 28 Ag News


Nebraska inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2017, was 3.45 million head, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This was down 4 percent from September 1, 2016, but up 1 percent from June 1, 2017.

Breeding hog inventory, at 410,000 head, was down 2 percent from September 1, 2016, and down 2 percent from last quarter. Market hog inventory, at 3.04 million head, was down 4 percent from last year, but up 2 percent from last quarter.

The June – August 2017 Nebraska pig crop, at 2.21 million head, was up 5 percent from 2016. Sows farrowed during the period totaled 190,000 head, up 3 percent from last year. The average pigs saved per litter was a record high 11.65 for the June – August period, compared to 11.35 last year.

Nebraska hog producers intend to farrow 185,000 sows during the September – November 2017 quarter, up 3 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago. Intended farrowings for December 2017 – February 2018 quarter are 180,000 sows, unchanged from the actual farrowings during the same period the previous year.


On September 1, 2017, there were 22.9 million hogs and pigs on Iowa farms, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Hogs and Pigs report. The September 1 inventory was up 3 percent from both the previous quarter and the previous year.

The June-August 2017 quarterly pig crop was 5.94 million head, up 23,000 head from the previous quarter and 6 percent above last year. A total of 530,000 sows farrowed during this quarter. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.20 for the quarter, which was the highest pigs saved per litter on record.

As of September 1, producers planned to farrow 520,000 sows and gilts in the September-November quarter and 500,000 head during the December 2017-February 2018 quarter.

United States Hog Inventory Up 2 Percent

United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2017 was 73.5 million head. This was up 2 percent from September 1, 2016, and up 3 percent from June 1, 2017.  Breeding inventory, at 6.09 million head, was up 1 percent from last year, and up slightly from the previous quarter.  Market hog inventory, at 67.5 million head, was up 3 percent from last year, and up 3 percent from last quarter.

The June-August 2017 pig crop, at 33.0 million head, was up 2 percent from 2016. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 3.10 million head, up 2 percent from 2016. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 51 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was a record
high of 10.65 for the June-August period, compared to 10.58 last year. Pigs saved per litter by size of operation ranged from 7.80 for operations with 1-99 hogs and pigs to 10.70 for operations with more than 5,000 hogs and pigs.

United States hog producers intend to have 3.07 million sows farrow during the September-November 2017 quarter, up 1 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period in 2016, and up 5 percent from 2015. Intended farrowings for December-February 2018, at 3.02 million sows, are up 1 percent from 2017, and up 3 percent from 2016.

The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with over 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 47 percent of the total United States hog inventory, unchanged from  the previous year.

Thurston County to become next Livestock Friendly County

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Governor Pete Ricketts invite area farmers and residents to attend a presentation honoring the designation of Thurston County as a Livestock Friendly county.  The ceremony is scheduled for Monday October 2nd, 2017 at 11am in the Thurston County Courthouse, 106 S. 5th St., Pender, Nebraska.  If you'd like to get more information, contact Steve Martin at the Nebraska Dept. of Agriculture or call 402-471-4876. 

Senate Ag Committee Hearing on USDA Nominees Ibach, Northey

U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., today announced the Committee will hold a hearing to consider two nominations within the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Who:    Gregory Ibach, of Nebraska, to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs -and- William Northey, of Iowa, to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services

Date:   Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017
Time:  9:30 a.m.
Place:  328A Russell Senate Office Building

“Common Sense” Coalition Applauds EPA Action to Rescind “Waters of the U.S.” Rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) proposal to withdraw the controversial “Waters of the U.S.” Rule (WOTUS) has drawn praise from the Common Sense Nebraska coalition. The diverse coalition made up of Nebraska agriculture, business, and local government interests, submitted formal comments on the agencies’ plan to withdraw the WOTUS regulation, Wed., Sept. 27, according to Steve Nelson, Common Sense Nebraska coalition member and Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

“We applaud the agencies for acting to withdraw the WOTUS rule. This is exactly what our coalition has been calling for since this far-reaching, regulation was first proposed. Our message has been clear and consistent; the WOTUS rule would harm rural and urban Nebraskans and it would have caused cost increases, confusion, and uncertainty to farmers, ranchers, county governments, homebuilders, and virtually anyone who turns the earth with a shovel. The demise of this rule is long overdue,” said Nelson.

The WOTUS rule was a point of concern because of its regulatory implications, but also because of the expansion of federal authority it represented. When the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, Congress established a system which maintained state authority over land and water uses, but prohibited certain “discharges” into “navigable waters” unless authorized by a federal permit. Over the years, the EPA and the Corps have worked to slowly increase the scope of their jurisdiction by pushing a broader interpretation of what bodies of water the Clean Water Act gives them control over.

“Two important U.S. Supreme Court cases, one in 2001 and the other in 2006, reaffirmed the original limits of the Clean Water Act, reminding the agencies that Congress limited their authority only to ‘navigable waters’. Despite these court cases and legislative failures to broaden these powers, the agencies introduced the WOTUS rule vastly expanding the regulatory reach of the federal government to control all waters and waterways, and more importantly expand their powers over dryland, like farm fields, golf courses, and construction sites, where water can pool after rainfall events,” said Nelson.

The WOTUS rule was stayed by both a federal district court and a federal court of appeals due to its obvious legal flaws and the harm it would cause, particularly to the state agencies forced to implement it.

“The agencies’ failure to consider the input from state and local interests during development of the WOTUS rule ultimately contributed to its flaws, legal and otherwise. Now is the time to simply start over and develop a rule that clearly recognizes the limits of the Clean Water Act and the needs of those impacted by it,” said Nelson.

Common Sense Nebraska is a diverse, Nebraska-based coalition consisting of organizations and entities that have united in response to the EPA’s “Waters of the U.S.” Rule; a regulatory proposal that would harm both rural and urban Nebraskans through expansion of the EPA’s powers and authorities under the federal Clean Water Act. The coalition’s purpose is to build awareness and understanding of the EPA proposal and the impacts it would have on Nebraskans. For more information visit Common Sense Nebraska on Facebook.

Common Sense Nebraska Coalition members include:
AKSARBEN Club Managers Association
Association of General Contractors - NE Chapter
Farm Credit Services of America
Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association
National Federation of Independent Businesses/Nebraska
Nebraska Agribusiness Association
Nebraska Association of County Officials
Nebraska Association of Resource Districts
Nebraska Bankers Association
Nebraska Cattlemen
Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Nebraska Cooperative Council
Nebraska Corn Board
Nebraska Corn Growers Association
Nebraska Farm Bureau
Nebraska Golf Course Superintendents Association
Nebraska Grain and Feed Association
Nebraska Grain Sorghum Association
Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board
Nebraska Pork Producers Association
Nebraska Poultry Industries
Nebraska Rural Electric Association
Nebraska Soybean Association
Nebraska State Dairy Association
Nebraska State Home Builders Association
Nebraska State Irrigation Association
Nebraska Water Resources Association
Nebraska Wheat Board
Nebraska Wheat Growers Association
Nemaha Natural Resources District
Pawnee County Rural Water District #1

Iowa State Launches Searches for Extension and Outreach VP, Vet Med Dean

Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert has launched searches for the next dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and vice president of ISU Extension and Outreach.

Both units have interim leaders, Pat Halbur in Veterinary Medicine and John Lawrence in extension and outreach, who will serve until the permanent leaders are on the job, likely in summer 2018.

The startup of the searches has been timed so that Iowa State University's next president, once named, will participate in the interviews and hiring decisions.

Extension and Outreach VP

Laura Jolly, dean of the College of Human Sciences, and Sarah Nusser, vice president for research, will co-chair the search for the next vice president of extension and outreach. Greenwood/Asher and Associates will assist the committee. Joining Jolly and Nusser on the search committee are:
University members
    Lisa Bates, extension community and economic development, Ames
    Jennifer Bentley, extension agriculture and natural resources, Winneshiek county
    Matt Helmers, agricultural and biosystems engineering
    Himar Hernandez, extension community and economic development, Wapello county
    Chad Higgins, extension central administration
    Andrea Nelson, extension Region 13
    Kevin Schalinske, food science and human nutrition
    Angela Shaw, food science and human nutrition
    Cayla Taylor, extension 4-H youth development, Ames
    Barbara Woods, extension human sciences, Ames
External members
    Mary Greiman, Iowa Beef Foundation and Region 2 County Extension Council
    John Harms, Iowa State Fair Board
    Craig Hill, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation
    Bob Petrzelka, Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching

Veterinary Medicine dean

Beate Schmittmann, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Ann Marie VanDerZanden, associate provost for academic programs, will co-chair the search for the next dean of Veterinary Medicine. Parker Executive Search will assist the committee. Joining Schmittmann and VanDerZanden on the search committee are:
University members
    Karin Allenspach-Jorn, veterinary clinical services
    Amanda Fales-Williams, veterinary pathology
    Deanna Gerber, Vet Med student recruitment office
    Tom Johnson, Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center
    Anumantha Kanthasamy, biomedical sciences
    Michael Kimber, biomedical sciences
    Alejandro Ramirez, interim assistant dean
    Jim Roth, veterinary microbiology and preventive medicine
    Holly Salzbrenner, student chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association
    Jennifer Schleining, veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine
External members
    Randy Ackman, Iowa Veterinary Medical Association
    Marv Johnson, Dean’s advisory council
    Marcus Kehrli, USDA/ARS National Animal Disease Center (pending USDA approval)
    Clayton Kelling, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
    Greg Lear, Iowa Livestock Health Advisory Council
    Sue Robinson, Iowa Veterinary Specialties
    Kylee Thomas, Iowa Veterinary Medical Association

The searches will begin with the nomination of candidates and development of diverse candidate pools. Off-campus interviews are scheduled for January-February 2018, with on-campus interviews in February-March.

Growth Energy Statement on Reported Attempt to Assign RINs to Exported Biofuels

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement in response to emerging media reports of an effort by oil refiner Valero to encourage the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to attach Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) to exported biofuel, primarily corn-based ethanol. This action would run counter to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) statute and comes on the heels of a misguided attempt by Valero, Carl Icahn, and other merchant refiners to shift the obligated party under the RFS.

“While we cannot speculate on whether this rumor is being given any sort of official consideration, what is absolutely clear is that the idea runs contrary to the intent and plain language of the statute, which is specifically constructed to blend more renewable fuel into the U.S. transportation fuel supply in order to give consumers cleaner, more affordable fuel choices at the pump. Between these media reports and yesterday’s proposed cuts to the 2018 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs), we are concerned about the EPA’s and the Administration’s commitment to supporting biofuels.”

The Federal Register clearly noted that the EPA has ruled previously that, “if a gallon of ethanol is produced in the U.S. but consumed outside of the U.S., the RIN associated with that gallon is not valid for RFS compliance purposes since the RFS program is intended to require a specific volume of renewable fuel to be consumed in the U.S.”

USGC Works To Expand Ethanol Use In Africa As Part Of Global Demand Strategy

Individual markets in Africa vary greatly, but the continent as a whole offers significant potential demand for U.S. ethanol exports.

Brian Healy, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) manager of ethanol export market development, recently traveled to Kenya to evaluate and develop opportunities for U.S. ethanol in the continent and speak at a regional ethanol and sugar conference. There, he was able to engage with senior agricultural, energy and environmental ministry officials to learn more about ethanol production, use and trade across the region.

Healy explained that Kenya is a significant importer of finished gasoline, driven by an expanding middle class, high levels of development and access to capital. In addition, the country already has pro-ethanol policies in place, providing the foundation for ethanol use.

“Kenya, which has had an ethanol mandate since 2010, is currently not blending ethanol into their fuel due to infrastructure constraints related to refining and blending as well as limited expansion in feedstock production,” Healy said. “However, opportunities for U.S. ethanol do exist in this and other African markets.”

The Council is working to identify new market opportunities for U.S. ethanol in Africa, including promoting the development of pro-ethanol policies throughout the region and providing production and market information on the value of U.S. ethanol.

While many African countries have opportunities to expand their own domestic feedstock production, U.S. ethanol is already making its way to these markets via the Persian Gulf, where greater refining capacity exists. According to a Council-commissioned study, U.S. ethanol exports to the United Arab Emirates are being blended into gasoline and shipped to East African markets.

The use of ethanol supports these countries in achieving goals related to reducing environmental pollution and improving air quality for human health in addition to providing economic value as an octane enhancer. These important components form the foundation of the Council’s global ethanol market development engagements and programs.

To communicate these benefits, the Council focuses on building relationships in the fuel and ethanol sectors by working with local industry to share with regulators lessons learned from the U.S. adoption of ethanol, particularly related to reducing air pollution and diversifying fuel supplies. These efforts also help establish the United States as a reliable and affordable source of ethanol.

“We are broadening our outreach by identifying and analyzing potential new markets and developing strategies tailored to the culture and conditions of each market,” Healy said. “At the same time, we are committed to our established markets in this truly global engagement.”

Buyers From Japan Tour The U.S. Corn Industry

Building on decades of successful market development work in Japan, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) hosted this month a team of newer customers from the Japanese corn processing and feed milling industries to learn firsthand about the U.S. corn industry.

The Japanese corn trade team explores an interactive corn exhibit for children at the farm of USGC Past Chairman Chip Councell.

“The Japanese corn industry team had a great experience in the United States, learning as much as possible about corn in the one-week stay,” said Tommy Hammoto, USGC director in Japan. “The team covered all the aspects of corn production and use and obtained a comprehensive understanding of the U.S. corn industry.”

Trade teams like this one increase participants' familiarity with U.S. marketing and export logistics as well as connect up-and-coming customers with U.S. suppliers. To achieve these goals, the Japan team toured a farm, grain elevator facilities and agricultural technology providers in Missouri and conducted meetings with the Council and the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) in Washington, D.C. The team also visited the farm of USGC Past Chairman Chip Councell on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

“Chip’s farm is an excellent example of following modern conservation practices with explanations of practical uses of big data to conserve soil carbon and other nutrients,” Hammoto said.

The Council has worked with Japanese grain buyers and end-users to establish and maintain one of the largest and most loyal markets for U.S. feed grains, first opening an office in the country in 1961, a year after the organization was founded.

Japan is the top customer for U.S. corn this marketing year, purchasing 12.7 million metric tons (almost 500 million bushels) thus far (Sept. 2016-July 2017), an increase of 38 percent year-over-year and the most imports since 2010/2011. Overall, Japan’s imports of corn in all forms, including value added products made with corn, increased 32 percent compared to the same period thie year prior with a value of $5.48 billion.

While the Japanese feed and corn processing industries are committed to buying from the United States due to reliability and origination investments, competition is increasing from other countries. As a result, the Council must continually defend and work to expand market share through high-level engagement with industry, trade and government as well as educating the next generation of customers through efforts like September’s trade team.

“The purpose of the team was to educate, receive updates and discuss the advantages of U.S. corn from the United States,” Hamamoto said. “The team visit is an important part of customer servicing to have the Japanese industry gain knowledge and keep confidence in the stable supply of quality corn from the United States."

Cargill reports fiscal 2018 first-quarter results

Cargill today reported financial results for the fiscal 2018 first quarter ended Aug. 31, 2017. Key results include:
-    Adjusted operating earnings totaled $888 million, exceeding by 7 percent the $827 million earned in last year’s strong comparative period.
-    Net earnings on a U.S. GAAP basis were $973 million, up 14 percent from $852 million a year ago.
-    Revenues totaled $27.3 billion, edging ahead of last year’s $27.1 billion.

“We’re off to a good start in our new fiscal year, powered by the significant work we’ve done over the last few years and continuing to accelerate our performance,” said David MacLennan, Cargill’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Even as market conditions vary across our sectors, our teams are delivering for our customers and achieving results to fuel future growth.”
Segment results

Animal Nutrition & Protein carried its momentum from fiscal 2017 into the new quarter, with adjusted operating earnings up significantly from last year. Protein results in North America were lifted by brisk consumer demand for beef, strong exports and more abundant cattle supplies, resulting in better utilization of processing capacity. Global poultry slightly lagged the year-ago period, as somewhat weaker results in Central America trimmed strong domestic sales and exports out of Southeast Asia. Global animal nutrition nearly reached last year’s quarterly results. Gains attributable to sales of value-added feed additives and premixes were offset by market pressures in aqua feeds in Europe and swine in Vietnam.

At the start of the quarter, Cargill acquired Pollos El Bucanero, a leading producer of chicken and processed meats in Colombia. Also in the protein space, Cargill invested in San Leandro, California-based Memphis Meats. The young company is developing methods to cultivate meat directly from animal cells. Over time, cultured proteins could potentially complement conventionally produced meats as part of the equation to sustainably nourish the future. In animal nutrition, Cargill completed the purchase of Southern States Cooperative’s feed business, which serves customers in the southeastern and eastern U.S. It also formed a partnership with Austria’s Delacon, a leading maker of phytogenic feed additives for the animal nutrition market. Both Cargill and Delacon seek to accelerate the growth of these natural, plant-based feed additives that support animal health.

Food Ingredients & Applications was the second-largest contributor to company earnings, as continued attention to raising commercial capabilities and operating efficiencies yielded improved earnings. Cocoa and chocolate products, along with sweeteners and starches for food and other applications led results in most regions. The segment’s Asia-based businesses also realized improved volumes.

Adding to its portfolio of specialty ingredients, Cargill introduced canola lecithin to the market late last year. This versatile, label-friendly emulsifier can be used by food manufacturers in a wide variety of foods and beverages. In September, the ingredient received GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Origination & Processing was down from last year’s strong quarter, as positive trading results helped buffer against a challenging environment. Soybean processing in Brazil and China, and exports from Brazil also added to earnings. Although global demand for grain and oilseeds continues to grow, rising production and building global stocks during the last four crop cycles has depressed market volatility and commodity prices. The segment is working to increase productivity in its supply chain while continuing to leverage its trading and risk management capabilities to bring additional value to customers. The startup of efficient new production lines in the segment’s oilseed processing plants in Wichita, Kansas, and Fayetteville, North Carolina, furthered this objective.

The Industrial & Financial Services segment was down slightly from last year. Earnings from iron ore and steel trading in Asia, and from trade and structured finance services in emerging and developed markets offset weaker performance elsewhere in the segment. Cargill sold its petroleum business to Australia’s Macquarie Group in June. In a separate transaction, its North American power and gas business was sold to Macquarie in mid-September. Also in September, Cargill agreed to sell its U.S. metals business to Japanese steel trader and distributor Metal One. Pending regulatory clearance, the transaction is expected to close by calendar year-end. Cargill remains active in energy and ferrous markets through its financial risk management and Asia-based metals businesses. The company also is involved in biofuels, bio-industrials and tankers shipping.

Syngenta receives EPA registration for new premix: Clariva® Elite Beans seed treatment

Syngenta announced Clariva® Elite Beans seed treatment has received registration approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use in soybeans. Clariva Elite Beans combines the active ingredients of Clariva pn and CruiserMaxx® Vibrance®  seed treatment into a convenient premix formulation. Some state registrations may be pending.

Clariva pn is the only seed-applied nematicide on the market that offers season-long protection from the No. 1 soybean pest, soybean cyst nematode (SCN), by reducing its feeding and reproduction. It reduces the impact from sudden death syndrome and other SCN-related diseases and provides an average yield increase of 2.7 bushels per acre compared to an insecticide/fungicide seed treatment alone.

Greg Tylka, Ph.D., nematologist at Iowa State University, believes that nematicides may provide some added protection in fields where the performance of SCN-resistant soybean varieties is declining. “Almost all resistant soybean varieties on the market contain the same set of resistance genes [PI88788],” he said. ”By overusing those genes, we’re seeing the nematode become resistant to the resistance.”

In addition to Clariva pn, Clariva Elite Beans contains an insecticide and three fungicides, which improve root health and vigor, protect against a wide range of early-season insects and diseases, and provide an industry-leading return on investment. The RootingPower of Vibrance fungicide protects the entire root system through soil mobility and long-lasting systemic activity for an added level of Rhizoctonia protection. The Cruiser® Vigor Effect is scientifically proven to help produce more robust, vigorous plants, even in the absence of insects.

“With this formulated low-use rate premix, treaters know and trust that the active ingredients will treat easily and uniformly, won’t separate from the seed or build up on the planter, or end up wasted as dust on the ground,” said Dale Ireland, Ph.D., Seedcare technical product lead at Syngenta.

Unlike many generic seed treatments on the market, every engineered premix from Syngenta is thoroughly field-evaluated for unique high performance field protection characteristics, overall quality and application performance through a series of tests that simulate a wide range of application and storage conditions. Clariva Elite Beans contains uniquely chosen crop-specific polymers that bind the active ingredients to the seed coat. As a result, growers can maximize plant stands because of improved seed flow, reduced dust off and better seed singulation at planting.

While the active ingredients of the product will continue to provide proven SCN protection, the ease and flexibility of handling Clariva Elite Beans as a premix will make treating seed more efficient.   

NMPF Asks Federal, State Regulators to Take Action Against Misleading Labeling of “Blue Magic” Milk

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) is calling on federal and state food regulators to take enforcement action against imitation dairy product “Blue Magic Cashew Milk” for continuing to ignore federal standards of identity for dairy products.

In a letter sent today to the federal Food and Drug Administration, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture, NMPF said that the continued use of a standardized dairy term, “milk,” on a plant-based imitation made mostly from nuts and water, is a violation of standards defining milk as the product of a dairy animal.

“Beyond ignoring clearly-defined regulations specifying what milk is, this ‘Blue Magic’ product is an affront to consumers seeking appropriate levels of nutrition for their families,” said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF.  “It’s obvious that this beverage is not a nutritional substitute for real milk, regardless of its desire to co-opt dairy terms.”

NMPF first evaluated Blue Magic Milk, manufactured by California company Urban Remedy, in June 2017 as part of a marketplace survey examining the nutrients in imitation dairy foods. NMPF found that of the 244 beverages it reviewed, Blue Magic’s two-cup serving contained the highest sodium content, grams of fat and calories. Even a half-serving (1 cup) featured the highest calories and fat of all products surveyed, and was second highest in its sodium level.

By contrast, real low-fat milk, per cup, has more than four times the amount of Vitamin A, 3 grams more protein and 285 mg more calcium as Urban Remedy’s imitation version. Additionally, a serving of Blue Magic has 78 more calories, 10 grams more fat and 130 milligrams more sodium. An entire 16-ounce bottle of Blue Magic contains 470 mg of sodium — the equivalent of a fast-food hamburger.

Today’s action is the second time this year that NMPF has raised objections about Blue Magic Milk.

Following its review of imitation products, National Milk brought its concerns to the attention of FDA and the California Department of Food and Agriculture in letters sent in June to both agencies. Shortly thereafter, Urban Remedy made minor alterations to the beverage’s label, renaming the product as “Blue Magic Cashew Milk.” However, given that the beverage still uses a standardized dairy term, without offering the same nutrition as real milk, NMPF has sent a second letter to the agencies pointing out the continued problem with the labeling of the product.

This action against Blue Magic Cashew Milk is part of a new, recurring campaign created by NMPF that will call attention to other food brands that inappropriately label their products using dairy terminology. The series, titled “Dairy Imitators: Exposed,” will draw attention to these products’ lack of compliance with federal standards, and their nutritional deficiencies when compared to real milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy foods. Each month, a new graphic will feature an imitator’s labels and nutritional information next to those of various cow’s milk products. NMPF also will be writing to federal and state agencies about the imitation products, pointing out their violations of standards of identity.

“This campaign will further demonstrate to consumers, FDA and makers of these plant-based alternatives that National Milk will remain focused on the issue of deceptive labeling tactics,” Mulhern said. “Despite their desire to mimic real dairy foods, none fully matches milk’s nine essential nutrients.”

Each new graphic will be added to NMPF’s gallery of imitation dairy products on its website, in addition to being shared on social media and in NMPF’s quarterly Regulatory Register, which is also available online.

U.S. Dairy Industry Cautions Japan to Respect Current Trade Relationships During Review of EU’s List of Geographical Indications for Foods

Japan’s agriculture officials must respect current market access between Japan and its trading partners, including the United States, when reviewing a list of geographical indications (GIs) proposed by the European Union (EU), or else risk disrupting one of the world’s largest consumer marketplaces, the U.S. dairy industry urged today.

In a letter to the Japanese Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, leaders from the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) said it is imperative that Japan “not overlook the enormous significance of the EU food name list for Japanese consumers and producers, and for your lasting relationships with key international trading partners.”

The European Union is in the final stages of negotiating a free trade agreement with Japan, establishing the rules of commerce for hundreds of food products produced in each region. In doing so, the EU is seeking to monopolize a long list of common names under the guise of geographical indications in trade deals with Japan and other nations, including China and Mexico. This campaign attempts to restrict generic product names such as parmesan, feta and asiago to products made only by EU producers, and runs counter to international trade commitments.

The Consortium for Common Food Names and U.S. dairy groups have argued that this strategy is intended to deprive U.S. manufacturers of markets that local industries have developed. The EU’s goal of co-opting these terms would limit sales from non-EU companies to benefit European marketers, thereby stifling healthy competition among food producers all over the world.

“This is a critical moment for Japan as your nation prepares to review hundreds of food and beverage terms; the decisions Japan makes will have lasting impact for years to come,” the letter said. “We urge you to make sure that the steps you take do not unnecessarily limit healthy trade and competition within your market.”

The letter cited Canada’s decision to acquiesce to EU pressure, which has negatively affected its producers, consumers and trade partners The U.S. dairy leaders insisted that Japan can avoid this fate by helping to finalize a list of GIs that does not “encroach on generic names and terms.” For example, “Parmigiano Reggiano” is an acceptable geographical term, but the common name “parmesan” is already used by non-EU producers and widely used in Japan.

“For the good of our trade relationship, it is imperative that Japan’s efficient and transparent GI review process ensures that generic names and terms remain accessible to all,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “We encourage Japanese government officials to continue on this course, and to respect their own laws and international agreements with the United States.”

“Wholesale acceptance of the EU’s proposed GI list would not only unfairly limit the ability of U.S. and other nations’ cheesemakers to do business in Japan, it would negatively impact Japanese consumers and cheese producers,” said USDEC President and CEO Tom Vilsack. “We urge Japan to consider the confusion, marketplace disruptions and inflated prices that would ensue by restricting common cheese names as the EU desires.”

IDFA President and CEO Michael Dykes, D.V.M., said, “American dairy companies shipped $117 million of cheese products last year to Japan, which is the third-largest market for U.S. cheeses. We believe that trade agreements should break down barriers, not erect new ones, and we urge Japanese government officials to reject the EU’s attempts to block common food names and fair market access for U.S. companies.”

The Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN), of which all three dairy groups are a part, has been instrumental in opposing any attempt to monopolize common food names that have become part of the public domain. It has been coordinating U.S. industry submissions to the Japanese government to defend common food terms that appear on the EU’s GI list. CCFN seeks an appropriate model for protecting both legitimate geographical indications and generic food names.

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