Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Solutions to citrus greening top 10 2017 UF/IFAS stories

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – From lobsters to oranges, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences embraced stories of resilience and change during 2017. The top 10 stories for UF/IFAS during 2017 include finding ways to manage a disease that is crippling the citrus industry to helping lobstermen find damaged traps after Hurricane Irma to researchers discovering a new ant species in south Florida. Meanwhile, other UF/IFAS researchers have had their own stories to tell in 2017: 1. A century of service: UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center celebrated 100 years of helping the citrus industry thrive in good times and bad. “UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center just celebrated its 100th anniversary, and the future looks exciting for citrus as we continue to make new breakthroughs that will deliver greening-resistant plants in the not-too-distant future,” said Michael Rogers, director of the center. 2. Irula tribesmen vs. python: Frank Mazzotti, a researcher at the UF/IFAS Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, collaborated with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to bring tribesmen from India to hunt invasive Burmese python in the Everglades. 3. Bigger beak gets the prey: Showing that evolution can happen rapidly, a study by a team of UF/IFAS researchers has found that in about 10 years, the snail kite bird has evolved to develop a larger beak as its new prey, the island apple snail, proliferated and became invasive. 4. Hurricane Irma: UF/IFAS Extension agents and specialists across the state were a source for information and aid as Hurricane Irma decimated Florida. From rescuing animals to volunteering to replant crops to helping lobstermen find their damaged traps, UF/IFAS Extension personnel stepped up to offer assistance. 5. From seed to jet fuel: With help from UF/IFAS researchers, pilots will—in the future—fly jets with fuel made from a tiny seed grown in the Southeast. David Wright, a professor in the UF/IFAS agronomy department, will lead a $15 million-granted study of an inedible seed whose oil can be turned into jet fuel. 6. Nature Coast Biological Station: UF/IFAS researchers working on Florida’s Nature Coast finally have a place to call home with the grand opening of the Nature Coast Biological Station in Cedar Key, Florida. The NCBS is the only modern marine laboratory for 259 miles on the Gulf Coast. 7. New invasive ant: UF/IFAS researchers discovered a new species of ant native to Madagascar. The tiny, yellow ant is a new invasive ant species in south Florida that can have dire consequences for homeowners and for surrounding ecosystems. 8. No to microplastics: Maia McGuire, a UF/IFAS Sea Grant agent, continues to enlist more soldiers in the fight against microplastics. The marine biologist teaches citizen scientists from as far north as Nassau County to the Florida Keys to get samples from bodies of water, get them tested for microplastics, and spread the word far and wide about the devastating damage caused by the microscopic plastic found in everything from toothpaste to body wash. 9. Beetle brigade beefs up: It was bad enough when scientists said a beetle was ravaging avocado trees in South Florida. Then scientists found out that the redbay ambrosia beetle — which transmits laurel wilt — has company. Up to six other beetle species may carry the laurel wilt pathogen. Nevertheless, UF/IFAS scientists are studying these species to find a way to manage the disease that is affecting a $100 million a year industry. 10. Plants in space: UF/IFAS researcher took their plants experiments out of this world by teaming with NASA to study the impact of a lack of gravity on plants. The plants were included in a Feb. 14 launch from the Kennedy Space Center. “The more complete our understanding of spaceflight responses, the more success we will have in future missions, as we take plants with us off our planet,” said UF/IFAS horticultural sciences research professor Anna-Lisa Paul.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Truck safety legislation put forward

TOMORROW: AS MILLIONS OF AMERICANS GEAR UP FOR HOLIDAY ROAD TRAVEL TO VISIT FAMILY AND FRIENDS, SENATOR GILLIBRAND, REPRESENTATIVE COHEN TO ANNOUNCE BIPARTISAN, BICAMERAL LEGISLATION TO HELP KEEP DRIVERS SAFE FROM FATAL TRACTOR TRAILER TRUCK ACCIDENTS Underride Accidents Happen When Cars Slide Under Tractor Trailer Trucks, Often Resulting in Decapitation of Car Passengers Bipartisan Legislation Introduced by Senators Gillibrand and Rubio and Representative Cohen Would Prevent Deadly Truck Underride Accidents, Which Have Claimed Thousands of Lives Across the Country Washington, DC –TOMORROW, Tuesday, December 12th, at 10:15 AM EDT in SVC 212, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Representative Steve Cohen will be joined by families of truck underride crash victims and truck safety advocates to announce bipartisan legislation, the Stop Underrides Act of 2017, to prevent deadly truck underride crashes. Gillibrand is introducing this bipartisan legislation in the Senate with U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). An ‘underride crash’ is when a car slides under the body of a large truck, such as a semi-trailer, during an accident. When these accidents happen, a car’s safety features are not able to protect passengers because most of the car slides under the trailer and the truck crashes straight through the windows and into the passengers. The passengers in the car often suffer severe head and neck injuries, including decapitation on impact with the truck. These accidents are often fatal, even at low speeds. Studies and pilot programs show that a simple barrier attached to the lower area of a truck, called an ‘underride guard’, would help to prevent a car from sliding underneath a truck in an accident. Under current federal law, underride guards are not required to be on the sides or front of trucks. Underride guards are already required for the back of a truck, but the standards are outdated. Gillibrand and Rubio’s legislation would require underride guards on the sides and front of a truck and update the outdated standards for underride guards on the back of trucks. It would also ensure that the annual inspection for all large trucks include underride guards as part of the inspection and require the Department of Transportation to review underride standards every five years to evaluate the need for changes in response to advancements in technology.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Bayer launches website

Monheim, December 7, 2017 - Bayer today launched its new transparency website (, designed to enable access to scientific data needed for the evaluation of plant protection products. With this step, Bayer is taking a leadership role in driving transparency, while safeguarding the company’s confidential product composition and manufacturing process data. In addition to summaries of safety-related study reports for a significant number of active substances, Bayer will start to enable non-commercial access to the respective safety-related study reports, commencing with reports on imidacloprid. Background material such as videos and infographics are provided to help put regulatory science into context. In this way, Bayer wants to foster an open and transparent dialog. "As conflicting accounts about the safety of food or technologies are making it difficult for people to separate fact from fiction, this Bayer initiative is an important step towards increased transparency," said Dr. Adrian Percy, global head of Research and Development for the Crop Science Division. "By sharing safety data, which was previously only shared with authorities, we hope to connect the public with our scientific community in a way that builds trust and shows our desire to further create transparency." "We are excited to launch our new website which also aims to support authorities around the globe by providing an alternative tool, other than filing freedom of information requests, for them to obtain the documents which underlie our registration procedures," said Percy. "We want non-commercial interested parties - from a concerned citizen to a member of the scientific community - to be able to access safety-relevant information in a way that is quick and easy to understand, so that they can base their opinions on scientific data." Bayer's new transparency website will be updated on a regular basis. In the next phase, which is planned for early 2018, non-commercial users will be able to request access to additional full, in-depth safety-related study reports. Furthermore, Bayer plans to add other language options to its new website, for example German.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Verdancy Converts Barren Lands to Fruitful Fields

TAIPEI, Taiwan, Dec. 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- It doesn't look like your typical farm, irrigation piping snakes across rows of plants neatly organized across the concrete floors of a former chicken farm. Nor are they typical farmers. Five years ago, Volker Chen and George Hu established Verdancy in response to the growing imbalance of rural and urban development. "Society prioritizes industrial values, and rural life has grown increasingly impoverished. What if we offer a solution, where people can earn a good living and stay close to their family?" says Hu. They began by integrating their agricultural knowledge with urban resources, bringing together investment matchmaking, marketing, and trade experience into a new sustainable business model. In 2013, Hu raised US $1.5 million and started a 2 hectare pilot project in an abandoned chicken farm in north Taiwan. They recruited four people, all with zero farming experience to start. "We wanted to prove that our system can work for anyone," Chen says proudly. "Most of our friends in the city are not happy. It's obvious, low income and high costs for everything. If you had the choice, who wouldn't want to make money in their hometown and be with family?" said August Hong, one of the farmers. The three farmers working in Verdancy's tidy greenhouse enthusiastically add: "Now that we have the farming skills, and with Verdancy as our marketing and investment team, we feel confident we can keep growing!" In just two years, the four farm rookies learned to grow tomatoes, strawberries, turmeric, dragon fruit, and more. One has since started his own independent farm. Two others formed a new Verdancy cluster "Million Farmers." More recruits now learn these novel and efficient farming methods to take on new projects. "We turn wasted factories and barren lands into profitable planting fields," says Hu. Instead of traditional land farming, Verdancy uses nonwoven bags for grow beds. Each plant grows individually to prevent contagious disease or soil contamination. In addition, under the guidance of Taipei Medical University professor Han Bor-Cheng, known as the father of detox diets in the Chinese community, Verdancy focuses on plants with the highest medicinal and economic value in Chinese medicine. "When we change farmers' lives, we change the world." This is the first thing Verdancy tells their stakeholders. To make this dream a reality, Verdancy integrated Taiwan's best biological, pathologic and agricultural expertise. The backbone of this success comes from the support of the renowned "Plant Dr." Tsay Tung-tsuan, also known as the savior of agriculture in China and Taiwan. He developed unique bio-technology and techniques to protect plants' root systems. "Healthy roots lead to healthy plants; healthy plants lead to bigger yields and more money!" Wise words from the plant doctor. Verdancy co-founder Chen spent 5 years as a disciple of Dr. Tsay, and has helped turn Tsay's biological formula and experience into a step-by-step "Efficient Farming Guide for Dummies" for various plants. From seeding, planting, fertilizing to harvesting, following this guide, anyone can learn farming. In addition, Verdancy emphasizes their products' safety and high quality. All Verdancy farmed goods must pass the highest international standards. And they have earned various certifications verifying they are pesticide residue free. Today, Verdancy is working with different partners in 5 different cities in Asia, and has consulted on dozens of agriculture projects. Their newest projects, farming off grid, explores emission-free operations with solar micro-grids. For more information, please visit:

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Survey Shows Massive Opioid Impact in Farm Country; Farm Groups Call for Dialogue, Action

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 30, 2017 – The opioid crisis has struck farm and ranch families much harder than the rest of rural America, a Morning Consult survey shows. While just under half of rural Americans say they have been directly impacted by opioid abuse, 74 percent of farmers and farm workers say they have. Three in four farmers say it would be easy for someone in their community to access opioids illegally, and just under half of rural adults – 46 percent – say the same. The poll, sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union, is a first step in the groups’ collaboration on this issue. “We’ve known for some time that opioid addiction is a serious problem in farm country, but numbers like these are heartbreaking,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said. “Opioids have been too easy to come by and too easy to become addicted to. That’s why we are urging everyone we know to talk to their friends, family, co-workers – anyone at all they know or suspect needs help. And because opioid addition is a disease, it’s up to all of us to help people who suffer from it and help them find the treatment they need. Government cannot and will not fix this on its own. Rural communities are strong. The strengths of our towns can overcome this crisis.” “The opioid crisis is not just some talking point or abstract issue—it is an enormous challenge for both rural and urban America, and we as a country need to come to grips with it,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “These responses demonstrate the reach of the unrelenting and deadly crisis that is gripping farm families across the country. Farm and rural communities currently face major challenges in the fight against addiction, like access to services, treatment and support. Time and time again, farmers and ranchers have come together to help their families and their neighbors through challenging situations. That same resolve and compassion will help us break the grips of opioid addiction in rural America.” More highlights from the survey: • Half of farmers and farm workers (50 percent) say addiction to opioids is a disease, rather than due to a lack of willpower. • Three in four farmers (77 percent), as well as those who work in agriculture generally (76 percent), say it would be easy for someone in their community to access a large amount of prescription opioids or painkillers without a prescription. • Rural adults overwhelmingly recognize that opioid abuse can begin accidentally with the use of what are deemed safe painkillers, or opioids (75 percent). • Rural adults are largely unaware that rural communities are impacted the most by the opioid crisis (31 percent). And, they say opioid abuse is a major problem in urban communities more so than in rural communities by a 10-point margin (57 percent vs. 47 percent). • One in three rural adults (34 percent) say it would be easy to access treatment for addiction to prescription drugs or heroin in their local community. But, less than half (38 percent) are confident they could seek care that is either effective, covered by insurance, convenient or affordable. • One in three rural adults say there is a great deal of stigma associated with opioid abuse in their local community (31 percent), and that the stigma of abuse and addiction contributes a great deal to the opioid crisis (32 percent). • A strong majority of rural Americans believe increasing public education surrounding resources (68 percent) and reducing the shame or stigma around opioid addiction (57 percent) are effective means for solving the opioid crisis.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Livestock Haulers Get Waiver From ELDs Regulation

WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 20, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has granted drivers who haul livestock a 90-day waiver from a regulation that could have negative effects on animal well-being, a move hailed by the National Pork Producers Council. NPPC requested on behalf of the U.S. pork industry and other livestock sectors a waiver from a requirement that certain drivers install Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) on their trucks. The organization also asked for an exemption from the regulation, citing the incompatibility between transporting livestock and DOT’s Hours of Service rules. Those regulations limit truckers to 11 hours of driving daily, after 10 consecutive hours off duty, and restrict their on-duty time to 14 consecutive hours, which includes nondriving time. “The ELDs regulation poses some serious challenges for livestock haulers and the animals in their care,” said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Ill. “This waiver will give the department time to consider our request that truckers transporting hogs, cattle and other livestock be exempt from the ELDs mandate. “Drivers transporting livestock have a moral obligation to care for the animals they’re hauling.” The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act, enacted as part of the 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, mandated that ELDs be installed by Dec. 18, 2017, in commercial motor vehicles involved in interstate commerce, when operated by drivers who are required to keep records of duty status. ELDs, which can cost from $200 to $1,000, record driving time, monitor engine hours, vehicle movement and speed, miles driven and location information. DOT recently issue an interpretation intended to address shortcomings in its Hours of Service rules, exempting from the regulations and from any distance-logging requirements truckers hauling livestock within a 150 air-mile radius of the location at which animals were loaded. The department soon is expected to publish guidance on the air-mile exemption.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Farm Bureau Praises House Tax Bill Passage

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 16, 2017 – The following may be attributed to Zippy Duvall, president, American Farm Bureau Federation: “Today’s passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) by the House of Representatives puts us one step closer to a tax code that works for all farmers and ranchers. Lower rates combined with the preservation of small business expensing, like-kind exchanges and the business deduction for state and local taxes are just a few of the things we are pleased to see in this legislation. We look forward to working with the Senate to build on this success in the coming weeks.”

Secretary Perdue Statement on House Passage of Tax Cuts & Reforms

(Washington, D.C., November 16, 2017) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today hailed the House of Representatives’ passage of historic tax cuts and reforms as an important step toward providing much-needed relief to Americans, creating jobs, and boosting the economy. Perdue issued the following statement: “We haven’t had an overhaul of the burdensome federal tax code since the mid-1980s and it is well past time to provide needed relief to workers and families. The people of agriculture dedicate their lives to putting food on the table for their fellow citizens and they deserve to keep more of what they earn from their labors. I applaud President Trump for his leadership in driving the debate and clearing a path for historic and significant tax cuts and reforms, just as I am pleased to see the sense of urgency with which Congress is moving toward a solution. The result will be more money in people’s pockets, more jobs created, and a more vibrant American economy.”

Moore’s Marinades & Sauces Gives #MooreHelp With Operation BBQ Relief

Charitable company helps serve over 1 million meals to 21 states across the country As we approach the season of giving thanks, it’s time to reflect on how to make a real impact in the community. As part of their second annual #MooreHelp campaign for Operation BBQ Relief (OBR), Moore’s Marinades & Sauces is proud to have raised $20,000 to support the organization’s cause – reaching its goal and plus some! A not-for-profit that provides hot meals to areas affected by natural disasters across the United States, OBR truly lends a hand to those in need. This year, Moore’s pledged to donate 10 cents for every bottle of marinade or sauce purchased during May, June, September and October. With a goal to raise awareness about OBR and help educate communities across the nation of the impact it has on the lives of those affected by disasters, this generous donation directly impacted OBR’s hurricane relief efforts in Texas and Florida. With the tragic devastation from Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, the team behind OBR was on the move serving BBQ meals to disaster victims and first responders. In less than three weeks, OBR served more than 437,860 hot BBQ meals! Knowing full well what OBR can accomplish, Moore’s is honored to support these relief efforts and bring increased awareness to people across the country. To learn more about Moore’s Marinades & Sauces and their partnership with OBR, visit About Operation BBQ Relief Operation BBQ Relief was founded in 2011 and is comprised of a Disaster Response Team of over 4,420 volunteers and competition BBQ teams. Operation BBQ Relief is able to quickly mobilize its deployment teams to any area across the country to provide hot BBQ meals, compassion, hope and friendship to those whose lives have been affected by disasters. For more information, visit

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture Urges Support for #AgGives Campaign on #GivingTuesday

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 15, 2017 – The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture is urging support for #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving on Nov. 28 that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. #AgGives on #GivingTuesday is an industry-wide campaign to raise funds, find volunteers and build awareness of agriculture in local communities. #AgGives is a space to tell your story in person or on social media, share ag literacy resources, connect with other ag literacy advocates, and become a part of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s efforts to educate and address the many misconceptions in agriculture. “Although monetary donations are part of #AgGives, consider giving the gift of knowledge and sharing information with others who may not have a farm background so they can understand what you’re doing on your farm or ranch,” said Zippy Duvall, chairman of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture and president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. Throughout 2017, the Foundation has been celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding. In the spirit of “50,” a goal of a 50-percent increase in donations was set for the month of November. To help achieve that goal and spur contributions, every donor contributing $25 or more to the Foundation on #GivingTuesday will receive one entry for a chance to win an exclusive Book of the Year bundle valued at over $80.00! The bundle will include the Foundation’s most recent and popular Book of the Year selections – “The Beeman,” “The Apple Orchard Riddle,” “First Peas to the Table,” “Sleep Tight Farm” and the 2018 Book of the Year, to be announced in January during the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show. About The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture is working to rebuild the bonds of trust between American consumers and the people who proudly grow their food, fiber and energy. The Foundation is creating agriculturally literate citizens through educational programs, grants, scholarships, classroom curriculum and volunteer trainings. Learn more about #GivingTuesday: visit or or follow along on Facebook ( or Twitter (

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Farm Bureau Seeks Full Withdrawal of Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 14, 2017 – The following may be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall: “The American Farm Bureau thanks Secretary Perdue for delaying the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule. The health and well-being of livestock is a top priority for all farmers and ranchers. We work with a host of specialists, from animal scientists to nutritionists, to manage our farms in the best manner possible to ensure wholesome, healthy food. This rule, on the other hand, has been about pushing an agenda rather than advancing food safety or animal welfare. Animal welfare metrics do not meet the original intent of the Organic Production Act. “Organic farmers and ranchers would be forced out of the organic sector or out of business entirely if this rule goes into effect and forces them to arbitrarily change their production practices. We hope that as the Agriculture Department reviews this rule, it will conclude, as we have, that the rule is an act of federal overreach and should be withdrawn.”

More than 1 Million People Call on Department of Justice to Block Bayer-Monsanto Merger

Proposed merger threatens the diversity and availability of seeds Washington, DC — Today, more than 1 million petition signatures were delivered to the U.S. Department of Justice calling on the department to block the proposed merger of Bayer (BAYN) and Monsanto (MON). The petition was signed by concerned farmers and consumers. If the Bayer-Monsanto merger is approved, 77 percent of the corn seed in America would be controlled by two companies, Bayer-Monsanto and Dow-DuPont. The new company would be the world’s largest vegetable seed company, world’s largest cottonseed company, world’s largest manufacturer and seller of herbicides, the world’s largest owner of intellectual property/patents for herbicide tolerant traits. “This merger threatens the diversity and independence of the world’s seed supply,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety. “With this ownership, these corporations have the power to limit the distribution, and control the price, of thousands of seeds. This consolidation threatens the livelihood of farmers and puts our food supply at risk.” More than 1 million Americans signed petitions calling on the Department of Justice to block the Bayer-Monsanto merger. Petitions were collected by Action Aid, Avaaz, Center for Food Safety, Clif Bar Family Foundation/Seed Matters, CREDO, Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Organic Consumers Association, Organic Seed Alliance, Pesticide Action Network North America, Rural Advancement Foundation International, Sierra Club and SumOfUS. In response to the current consolidation of the world’s seed supply, Center for Food Safety has created a peer-to-peer seed sharing website, the Global Seed Network, aimed at maintaining the diversity and independence of the world’s seed supply and giving the power of growing seeds back to the people.

Monday, November 13, 2017

National Potato Council Applauds U.S. Victory in World Trade Organization Case Against Indonesia

Washington, D.C. – The National Potato Council applauds the U.S. Trade Representative’s victory in the World Trade Organization (WTO) case against Indonesia’s restrictive import licensing scheme. The ruling will increase potato exports and demonstrates the value of the WTO in fairly resolving trade disputes. The potato industry appreciates the commitment by the U.S. Office of the Trade Representative to initiate and successfully conclude this important case. Indonesia is an important market for U.S. potato exports. Due to their illegal import licensing scheme, U.S. frozen potato exports to Indonesia amounted to only $18 million in 2016. By comparison, the smaller neighboring market of Malaysia has no restrictive import licensing requirements and shipments of similar potato products there exceeded $41 million in 2016. “This is an important step in advancing the effort to have fair, balanced trade with our key trading partners,” indicated John Keeling, National Potato Council Executive Vice President. “As a result of the efforts of USTR and the final ruling by the WTO this week, we expect the trade restrictive Indonesian import licensing system will be dismantled and believe it will result in greater potato exports to the fourth most-populous country in the world.”

Friday, November 10, 2017

Farm Bureau Welcomes Progress on Tax Reform Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 9, 2017 – The following may be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall: “America’s farmers and ranchers are ready for a tax system that recognizes their hard work and the unique challenges they face while reducing the tax burden that threatens their livelihoods. Thanks to the leadership of the House Ways and Means Committee, we are closer to that goal. “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will preserve many critical tax provisions that farmers and ranchers need to manage tight margins and unpredictable income. Farm Bureau looks forward to working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to improve the bill and ensure reforms reduce the overall tax burden for farmers and ranchers.”

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

How to Have a Healthy Halloween

Avoid dental disasters and sugar shock from this year’s trick-or-treat run For many parents, the scariest thing about Halloween is the haul of candytheir kids bring home after trick-or-treating. Candy has been the star of the holiday for so long that it’s nearly impossible to avoid. (Even dentists seem resigned to that fact: 76 percent of them hand out candy for Halloween, according to the American Dental Association.) "As a dietitian who is obsessed with what her kids eat, I never worried too much about special occasions such as Halloween," says Amy Keating, R.D., a Consumer Reports dietitian. "Routine, everyday eating habits are most important. That said, some kids bring home so much candy that it sits around the house for weeks and becomes an everyday part of the diet instead of an occasional treat." That can be a problem for your child’s health—and yours too, if you can’t resist dipping into your child’s stash. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. With a few strategies in place you can have a healthy Halloween and you don’t have to skip the candy to do it. Set the Ground Rules Before they head out, talk to your children about moderation, suggests Kristi King, M.P.H., R.D.N., senior dietitian at Texas Children’s Hospital and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. You don’t want to be too strict, because that can backfire and lead to sneakiness. But you do want to set limits. Tell them that they can have a few pieces when they get home. “That way," she says, "your children aren’t surprised when you tell them ‘no more.’ ” Fuel First A healthy snack or meal will energize kids for the trick-or-treating ahead and begin their outing on the right note. “Protein and fiber will help to keep their tummies satisfied and blood sugar stable,” King says. That means they will be less likely to get tired or cranky, or to snack on candy along the way. Keep it simple and fun—grilled chicken strips and carrots, celery, and bell pepper with mild salsa for dipping, or a hard-boiled egg “ghost” (cut with a jagged bottom) and clementine “pumpkins” (peeled and served with a small green apple or celery “stem” in the middle), for instance. Take a Small Bag It will get filled after going to a just few houses, but your child will still have that feeling of abundance that’s part of the holiday. Steer Kids Away From Stickies, Sours, and Suckers These are the worst candies for teeth. “The longer treats stay in contact with the tooth, the higher chance that they will promote cavity formation,” says James Nickman, D.D.S., M.S., an associate clinical professor at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry and president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Sticky candies like gummies, taffy, and caramel can also pull off braces and get stuck in the spaces between teeth. Sour candies are acidic, which can wear away tooth enamel. Treats that are sticky and sour or sour ones that stay in your mouth for a long time are double-trouble. Chocolate is a better option. It melts, so the time it spends in contact with teeth is minimal. Other tooth-friendly treats are sugar-free gum, popcorn, pretzels, and crackers. Seek Out Alternative Treats Be on the lookout for houses giving out glow sticks, bracelets, flashing LED rings, bubbles, stickers, and more, King says. Even a child who is unenthusiastic about those nonedible treats at first may warm up to them after acquiring a few dozen lollipops. Serve a Candy Chaser While it’s ideal for your child to brush and floss after a snack (and certainly a candy-laden afternoon), doing so may not be practical. “Drinking water helps to rinse some of the sugary treats off the teeth until a more thorough cleaning is possible,” Nickman says. Or give your child a little cheese (like mozzarella string cheese) and a small apple. It's a good blood sugar balancing snack to help with postcandy recovery. And cheese helps neutralize acid in the mouth, which decreases the risk of tooth erosion and developing cavities, according to a 2013 study published in the journal General Dentistry. Trade It In Have your child sort through the candy and pick his or her favorites, then get rid of the rest. “Some dental practices will offer a candy buyback program, where children can cash in on their hard work,” Nickman says. Some parents summon the Halloween Fairy or Switch Witch so their kids can trade in their excess candy for a prize (or donate it). “It’s a nice way for your child to learn about sharing and appreciating others,” King says. Organizations like Operation Gratitude send donated candy to military members overseas. “Removing the temptation from the house will help the child’s oral health,” Nickman says. Stash the Loot Store the candy you do keep in the cabinets, freezer, or pantry, where it won’t be top of mind, King suggests. Adults and kids are more likely to mindlessly munch on foods that are kept in plain view. Dole out a few pieces per day that your child chooses, like in his lunchbox or with her dinner. Toss It After a week or two, make like the 800 Queen Elsas that came knocking this Halloween and “let it go.” A day of Halloween is one thing, King says, but there’s no need to let a glut of candy linger through the end of the year. After all, pumpkin pie and holiday cookies will be around before you know it.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Co-ops Oppose Increased Tax Burden on Farmers

Washington, D.C. (October 25, 2017)--The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) today expressed strong opposition to provisions included in the recently-released Unified Framework for Fixing our Broken Tax Code that would increase taxes for farmers across the country. By eliminating the Section 199 deduction that is passed down by farmer co-ops to their member-owners, money will flow from the pockets of farmers and rural communities to investment bankers on Wall Street and venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. Section 199, also known as the Domestic Production Activities Deduction (DPAD) was enacted as part of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 and applies to proceeds from agricultural products that are manufactured, produced, grown, or extracted by farmer cooperatives, or that are marketed through co-ops. The great majority of cooperatives pass the benefit through directly to their farmer members. It is estimated that the deduction returns nearly $2 billion annually to rural areas in all 50 states. “Farmer co-ops have consistently supported tax reform and related policies that support economic growth in rural America as well as the broader economy,” said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of NCFC. “The elimination of the Section 199 deduction for agriculture increases the tax burden on farmers and their co-ops and obviously runs counter to that goal. In a time of continued low commodity prices, those hardworking Americans who grow our food can ill afford for Congress to pass a law that will raise their taxes.” “As both the House Ways & Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee begin considering detailed tax reform packages, they must preserve the Section 199 deduction for agriculture and recognize that lower rates by themselves will not offset a loss of the deduction,” Conner continued. “It would be a strange irony indeed if a Republican Congress and a Republican president pass a law that increases taxes on America’s farmers.” About NCFC Since 1929, NCFC has been the voice of America's farmer cooperatives. Our members are regional and national farmer cooperatives, which are in turn composed of over 2,000 local farmer cooperatives across the country. NCFC members also include 26 state and regional councils of cooperatives. Farmer cooperatives allow individual farmers the ability to own and lead organizations that are essential for continued competitiveness in both the domestic and international markets. America’s farmer-owned cooperatives provide a comprehensive array of services for their members. These diverse organizations handle, process and market virtually every type of agricultural commodity. They also provide farmers with access to infrastructure necessary to manufacture, distribute and sell a variety of farm inputs. Additionally, they provide credit and related financial services, including export financing. -

Monday, October 23, 2017

USDA: Seven Northern California Counties Affected by Wildfires to receive D-SNAP

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2017 – Households impacted by recent wildfires in Northern California could be eligible for help buying food through USDA’s Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) announced today. Those who may not normally be eligible for nutrition assistance under regular SNAP rules may qualify for D-SNAP -- if their income is under the disaster limits and they have qualifying disaster-related expenses. “D-SNAP is an important next step in helping Northern Californians recover from terrible losses,” said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. “We will continue our close partnership with the California Department of Social Services to ensure wildfire victims have the food they need.” Benefits will be made available to eligible people who either lived or worked in Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Sonoma and Yuba Counties at the time the wildfires began on October 8, 2017; have been affected by the disaster; and meet certain D-SNAP eligibility criteria. Approved households will receive one month of benefits, equivalent to the maximum amount of benefits normally issued to a SNAP household of their size to meet their food needs as they return to their communities to recover and rebuild. Current SNAP participants in the affected areas will also receive additional benefits as appropriate to match the D-SNAP amounts. The D-SNAP announcement today is the latest in an ongoing series of USDA actions to help those affected by the California wildfires. This includes a waiver to allow SNAP participants to buy hot foods and hot food products with their benefits at authorized SNAP retailers statewide, automatic replacement of 60 percent of October benefits to current participants in specific zip codes in 6 counties, and extended time for SNAP participants in other locations to submit claims for food lost in the disaster. Details on California’s D-SNAP program, including application sites, hours of operation, and information about optional preregistration which can help speed the application process on site, will be available soon at the California Department of Social Services website ( USDA’s FNS administers 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the Summer Food Service Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which together comprise America's nutrition safety net. For more information on FNS assistance during times of disaster, visit #

Sunday, October 1, 2017

USDA Announces SNAP Policy for Displaced Puerto Rico Residents

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2017 -- Individuals receiving benefits under Puerto Rico’s Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP), who have been displaced due to the recent hurricanes, can apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in the area where they currently reside, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced. This ensures that NAP participants who relocated as a result of destruction from hurricanes Irma and Maria receive much needed nutrition assistance even though they may not be able to close their current case in Puerto Rico, as would be necessary under regular procedures. The policy will facilitate access to nutritious food for households in immediate need, since NAP benefits cannot be used outside Puerto Rico. “Paperwork should take a back seat in challenging times like these where folk are experiencing hardships in the aftermath of these devastating storms,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said. “This USDA policy will ensure families get the food they need, where they are, helping bring a bit of stability in trying times.” In an effort to serve these displaced Americans, USDA has advised all SNAP State agencies to serve such households using regular SNAP eligibility rules, including expedited procedures as appropriate. Expedited procedures enable households to receive an eligibility decision within 7 days rather than the typical 30 days, if they have very little income or resources. The flexibility allows NAP households to terminate their NAP cases as soon as is feasible when systems on the island are restored. NAP participants will be asked to sign an affidavit stating that they understand that no member of the household may receive benefits from both NAP and SNAP simultaneously, and agreeing to close their NAP case as soon as possible. Once signed, households may receive SNAP for 2 months subject to SNAP’s normal eligibility criteria. The policy is in effect until October 31, 2017.

Thursday, September 28, 2017


Sacramento, CA (September 19, 2017) – The 2017 California prune harvest is projected to reach 105,000 tons (95,254 metric tonnes), according to forecasts by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). The projected harvest will yield a 99-percent increase over the unusually light 2016 harvest of 52,851 tons (47,946 metric tonnes). USDA and NASS estimates are based on surveys among California prune growers. “California prunes consistently represent the world’s finest quality fruit,” said Donn Zea, Executive Director, California Dried Plum Board. “This year, the industry is returning to a normal size harvest that will help meet consumer and trade demand.” The 2017 harvest started slightly later than usual and will likely conclude by mid-September. Zea adds that growers are reporting healthy trees that have rebounded from the weather-related challenges of recent years. “We are on track for a good year for California prunes,” said John Taylor, Vice President/Owner, Taylor Brothers Farms. “We are seeing strong, highly productive orchards and delicious, premium caliber fruit that sets the global gold standard for prunes.” California is the world’s largest producer of prunes providing approximately 40 percent of the world’s supply and almost all of the U.S. supply. The French prune variety accounts for virtually all of the dried plum acreage grown in California. For more information about California prunes, please visit

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Secretary Perdue Statement on President Trump’s Tax Reform Agenda

(Washington, D.C., September 27, 2017) – Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today applauded President Donald J. Trump’s vision of a broad reform of the American tax code, which will result in dramatic tax cuts for millions of American individuals, families, businesses, and family farmers, ranchers, and foresters. Secretary Perdue issued the following statement: “The people of American agriculture work hard every day to provide food, fiber, and fuel for their fellow citizens, so they shouldn’t be overburdened by the tax collector as well. Most family farms operate as small businesses, with the line between success and failure frequently being razor thin. Add to that the complexity and costs of merely complying with the tax code, and their budgets are stretched even tighter. On top of it all, the unfair ‘Death Tax’ can cause too many family farms to be broken up and sold off to pay the tax bill, undoing lifetimes of toil and preventing further generations from carrying on. President Trump is right to push for reform and reductions in the tax code—an overhaul that is long overdue.”

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

TCA Highway Angel Pulls Motorist from Burning Pick-up Truck

Stagecoach Cartage & Distribution LLC's Adrian Parada rescues man before his truck exploded ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Adrian Parada, of El Paso, Texas, a professional truck driver for Stagecoach Cartage & Distribution LLC also of El Paso, has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA). He is being recognized for pulling a motorist away from his burning pick-up truck just before it exploded. On October 25, 2016, Adrian was fueling at Love's Truck Stop in Fort Stockton, Texas when he observed a pick-up truck on fire. He quickly told a fellow Stagecoach driver to call 911 as he went to see if the driver needed assistance. When Adrian approached the vehicle, he saw the driver frantically attempting to exit the truck. The driver then fell to the pavement and Adrian pulled him away from the burning vehicle. As they retreated, there were two explosions. The motorist experienced burns to his knees, feet, and arms. Thanks to Adrian's selfless actions, the man was able to make it far enough away from the vehicle to avoid more serious injuries. For his willingness to assist his fellow driver, TCA has presented Adrian with a certificate, patches, lapel pin, and truck decals. Stagecoach Cartage & Distribution LLC also received a certificate acknowledging Adrian Parada as a Highway Angel. EpicVue sponsors TCA’s Highway Angel program. Since the program’s inception in August 1997, hundreds of drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage they have displayed while on the job.

Monday, September 18, 2017

North America's Best Professional Truck Drivers Could Win $25,000

Nomination period for Driver of the Year Contests opens September 18 ALEXANDRIA, Va. and TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Today, the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and partners Overdrive and Truckers News, officially opened nominations for the 2017 Driver of the Year Contests, sponsored by Cummins Inc. and Love’s Travel Stops. Nominations will be accepted until November 10th. The competition is divided into two categories: the Company Driver of the Year Contest (now in its 27th year) and the Owner Operator of the Year Contest (now in its 29th year). Company drivers must be nominated by the motor carriers that employ them, while owner operators may be nominated by themselves, spouses, or by carriers they have been leased to for a period of three or more years. The two overall winners will receive $25,000 each and the two runners-up in each division will win $2,500. Nominees must demonstrate a safe driving record with a minimum of one million consecutive accident-free miles, a strong work ethic, and a desire to improve their community and the image of the trucking industry. In addition to providing proof of operating information, work history, and safety record, nominees are asked to write a 300-word essay explaining why they are good “trucking citizens” and should be a candidate for the grand prize. Owner operator nominees are also required to provide documentation such as equipment specifications, business plans, and financial statements. To nominate a company driver or owner operator, please visit The 2016 company driver grand prize winner, Murray Manuliak, has been a professional truck driver for over 25 years, accruing more than 3.1 million accident-free miles. He currently drives for Bison Transport, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and attributes his successes to his dedication to safety: “I keep safety at the forefront of everything I do—I drive safe, I teach safety to new Bison drivers. Safety is at the foundation of my success, and it is what has kept me on the road all these years.” Last year’s owner operator grand prize winner was Gary Buchs, who is leased to Landstar System, Inc. of Jacksonville, Florida. A professional truck driver for over 27 years, who has driven more than 2.3 million consecutive accident-free miles, Buchs dedicates his time while not on the road to helping others and staying active. He completed the Chicago marathon in 2015, spends at least one week per year assisting victims of major wind or flood damage, and donates produce from his farmstead to local food pantries. Jim Gattoni, president and CEO of Landstar said, “Gary’s commitment to the safety and education of others speaks to his ability to represent our industry in a positive light. He [is] an outstanding ambassador to the public, projecting an image that is worthy of the industry’s safe, honorable, customer-driven professionals who deliver the goods that touch our lives every day.” A panel of judges will select the top three finalists for each contest, to be announced in December. Each of the six finalists will receive an all-expense-paid trip to attend TCA’s Annual Convention, scheduled for March 25-28, 2018, at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Florida, where one grand prizewinner will be selected for each contest. For more information about TCA and its activities, follow the organization on Facebook——and Twitter— ###

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Spot Truckload Capacity Tightens, Rates Rise in Harvey’s Wake

The number of loads on the spot truckload freight market fell 3% during the week ending Sept. 9, which included the Labor Day holiday and supply chain disruptions caused by two hurricanes, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. Truckload capacity tightened further, with truck posts down 15% compared to the previous week (a 20% reduction is typical for a holiday week). Van and flatbed load-to-truck ratios increased as a result: - Van L/T ratio: 6.6 (up 17%) - Flatbed L/T ratio: 34.4 (up 29%) - Reefer L/T ratio: 11.3 (down 2%) Diesel prices continued to climb, rising 4 cents to $2.80/gallon as a national average. Higher fuel prices put pressure on spot rates compared to the previous week: - Van: $1.93/mile, up 3 cents - Flatbed: $2.24/mile, up 4 cents - Reefer: $2.18/mile, up 8 cents Nationally, van load posts declined 3% and truck posts lost 17%. Houston freight levels bounced back to 88% of where they were before Hurricane Harvey, a remarkable achievement considering that the rebound happened during a four-day holiday week. Reefer load posts declined 10% and truck posts fell 8% compared to the previous week. Outbound reefer rates in Atlanta rose 6 cents to an average of $2.46/mile as freight hubs in the Southeast helped to re-stock markets in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma that are usually served out of Houston. In Dallas, demand for reefer trucks led to a 19-cent increase to an average of $2.26/mile outbound. Flatbed load posts increased 4% nationally due in part to the need to move relief supplies and heavy equipment in Houston and Louisiana. Available capacity fell 20%—in line with expectations given the holiday week and the unusual pressures on the supply chain. How Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Affected Freight Flows Hurricane Harvey and Irma forced supply chain managers to make quick decisions about how to route their freight. After Harvey, some shippers began to supply markets ordinarily served by Houston from regional hubs in the Southeast, including Atlanta, Charlotte, and Memphis. With Irma headed toward Florida, those same distribution centers re-focused and moved freight south instead of west. Meanwhile, the Midwest had to supply the Northeast to compensate for the freight that would otherwise arrive from Atlanta. And the Midwestern warehouses were called on to supply Colorado, which is often served by Houston. For details, read Emergency Freight: What Harvey Tells Us About Irma:

Secretary Perdue to Survey Hurricane Damage in Georgia, Florida, and Texas

(Washington, D.C., September 14, 2017) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will travel to Georgia, Florida, and Texas over the next week to survey agricultural damage from hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The Secretary was invited to Georgia by Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, to Florida by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, and to Texas by Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. The Secretary will be in Georgia TOMORROW, Friday, September 15th; Florida on Monday, September 18th; and Texas on Thursday, September 21st and Friday, September 22nd.

Friday, September 8, 2017

CSPI’s president turns over the reins after 46 years

Dr. Peter G. Lurie will be the new president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, succeeding Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D. Michael Jacobson reflects on decades of progress toward a safer and more nutritious food supply. Back in 1971 and just a year out of grad school, I met two other scientists—Jim Sullivan and Al Fritsch—who were also working with Ralph Nader. After a few months, we came up with a crazy idea: Why not start a group run by scientists instead of lawyers? So, with no money, no experience in running an organization, and no connections, we created the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Somehow, with a grant here and a publication there, we found the resources to build up a staff. When Jim and Al left at the end of 1977, I became executive director. Scratching my head over a cereal label in 1972. In 1974, we started a newsletter to connect progressive nutritionists. When we realized that the public also had a thirst for credible information, we started selling subscriptions. That publication? Nutrition Action Healthletter. Over the years, Nutrition Action’s subscribers (about 600,000 now) and donors have largely fueled CSPI’s activities. I’m so proud of what our little band of scientists, lawyers, and advocates has accomplished: New laws. We led efforts for laws mandating Nutrition Facts labels, calories on menus, healthier school foods, new food-safety protections, and better labeling of allergens. Safer foods. We got rid of partially hydrogenated oil (the source of artificial trans fat), sulfites (a sometimes-lethal allergen) that were used to treat fresh vegetables, Violet 1 dye, and Olestra (we laughed the diarrhea-inducing fake fat out of the food supply). Healthier foods. Our campaigns led to declines in soda pop and sugar consumption and curbed junk food ads aimed at children. Fewer deceptive labels and ads. We used publicity, complaints to government agencies, and lawsuits to end deceptive claims by Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kraft, Campbell, Procter & Gamble, Sara Lee, and many others. After 46 years—and I can’t tell you how much fun it has been!—I’ve decided that it’s time to catch up on reading, travel more, and think about new approaches to improving the public’s health. So, on September 12, I’ll be turning CSPI’s reins over to Dr. Peter Lurie. Peter is a family physician and former Associate Commissioner for Public Health Strategy and Analysis at the Food and Drug Administration. He led the FDA’s initiatives on antibiotic resistance and transparency, and worked on international tobacco control and caffeinated beverages, among other things. At Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, where he worked previously, Peter focused on drug safety. He is co-author of the popular consumer guide to medications, Worst Pills, Best Pills. I have total confidence that Peter will build on CSPI’s record of accomplishment and continue to win new public protections, provide consumers with accurate information, serve as a check on industry’s power, and nurture a new generation of public-interest scientists.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Secretary Perdue Statement on President Trump’s Tax Reform Agenda

(Washington, DC, September 6, 2017) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today reiterated his strong support for President Trump’s tax reform agenda, as the president outlined today in North Dakota. Perdue issued the following statement: “Farming is a complicated operation, so to place more burdens on the people of agriculture through the tax code has never made any sense. Most agricultural enterprises are small businesses, and the costs and time required simply to comply with the tax code are impediments to what these folks really ought to be doing, and that’s growing and producing food to feed the United States and the world. “It’s an old, not-so-funny joke that farmers live poor and die rich, because of the value of the land they own. It isn’t right that a family’s hard work will be punished by the Death Tax, through which many farms have to be broken up or sold off just to pay the tax bill. I urge Congress to take up the tax reform agenda to give American agriculture the best chance to succeed. That would be in line with our new motto here at USDA – ‘Do right and feed everyone.’”

Thursday, August 17, 2017

U.S., Canadian and Mexican Farm Groups Support Modernized NAFTA

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 16, 2017 – The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) and Mexico’s Consejo Nacional Agropecuario (CNA) today sent a joint letter to Canadian, United States and Mexican government officials reiterating their calls that NAFTA re-negotiations should aim to modernize the agreement, rather than dismantle it. The AFBF, CFA, and CNA agree that agriculture represents one of NAFTA's biggest success stories. Agricultural reciprocal trade between the three countries has grown exponentially since the agreement was implemented more than 20 years ago. CFA President Ron Bonnett, strong in his support of the agreement, says that “NAFTA has boosted the incomes of millions of farmers and has facilitated the development of profitable export markets.” In their discussions, the three Presidents agreed on the need to build on the original agreement's success by looking for ways to increase trade volumes. “When it comes to overall positive results for North America’s farmers and ranchers, NAFTA has proved itself as a solid foundation for trade. Just as farmers have new tools and technology for food and fiber production, we believe that an updated NAFTA agreement can help the three nations become even stronger trading partners,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said. CNA President Bosco de la Vega, reflecting on the economic benefits of trade, said it is very clear, “The NAFTA agreement has had a positive impact for the agricultural sector, including the exponential increase in trade flows between its partners; currently NAFTA markets are characterized by high level of complementarity, the possibility to face the challenge of food security in a better way, an open trade system with clear and fair rules. Taking these into account, we believe that today the NAFTA members have a big opportunity to even increase this positive outcome.” All parties further commit to meeting with their governments to insist that NAFTA re-negotiations should be built on the principle of "doing no harm." NAFTA discussions should seek: 1. Increased and improved regulatory alignment. 2. Improved flow of goods at border crossings. 3. Further alignment of sanitary and phytosanitary measures using a science-based approach. 4. Elimination of non-science based technical barriers to trade. 5. Revisions that reflect technological advances since implementation such as digital trade, etc. Agriculture industries in each NAFTA country would greatly suffer from disruptions to trading relationships developed over the last 23 years. Farmers have increased productivity and improved their competitiveness to address the rapidly growing demand worldwide for healthy and sustainable food products. Losses due to NAFTA changes would severely stunt this progress. AFBF, CFA and CNA are committed to working with their respective administrations to ensure that a modernized NAFTA continues to be a success story for all farmers.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


The first observance of Labor Day was likely on Sept. 5, 1882, when some 10,000 workers assembled in New York City for a parade. The parade inspired similar events across the country, and by 1894 more than half the states were observing a “workingmen’s holiday” on one day or another. Later that year, with Congress passing legislation and President Grover Cleveland signing the bill on June 29, the first Monday in September was designated “Labor Day.” This national holiday is a creation of the labor movement in the late 19th century and pays tribute to the social and economic achievements of workers in America.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Sonny Perdue has proclaimed Aug. 6-13 to be National Farmers Market Week

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3, 2017 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has proclaimed Aug. 6-13 to be National Farmers Market Week. This is the eighteenth year USDA has supported local producers by encouraging families to meet, and buy from, the farmers and other vendors at their local farmers market. The proclamation Perdue signed notes farmers markets and other agricultural direct marketing outlets contribute approximately $9 billion each year to the U.S. economy and “serve as significant outlets by which small-to-medium, new and beginning, and veteran agricultural producers market agricultural products, generating revenue that supports the sustainability of family farms and the revitalization of rural communities nationwide.” Throughout the week, thousands of U.S. farmers markets will highlight the range of produce, fruit, meat, dairy and specialty products available from their local and regional farmers. USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory makes it easy to locate farmers markets in towns and neighborhoods across the country. Buying directly from farmers and ag-entrepreneurs has an outsized impact by helping diversify farm incomes and supporting other businesses by keeping more money in the local economy. In addition to being good for the farmers and convenient for consumers, farmers markets are a gathering place that help build a sense of community. On Friday, Aug. 11, USDA’s flagship Farmers Market in Washington is hosting several special events on the National Mall at 12th Street and Jefferson from 9 a.m.–2 p.m. and adding a special Night Market from 4 p.m.–8 p.m. Special guests include the Farmers Market Coalition, the official chef of the Washington Capitals Robert Wood, and the U.S. Army Band.

Friday, July 28, 2017

American Heart Association statement on Cook County's sweetened drink tax

“The American Heart Association applauds today’s ruling that will allow Cook County’s sweetened drink tax to finally take effect. The beverage industry’s support of a last-minute implementation delay led to layoffs of hundreds of critical public servants and significant budget uncertainty for Cook County’s leaders. We are pleased that Cook County’s more than five million residents are poised to now reap the tax’s many positive health and economic benefits. The evidence could not be clearer: sugary drink taxes work. From Philadelphia to Berkeley to Mexico, these taxes have produced a litany of positive outcomes—lower consumption of sugary drinks, higher consumption of water, additional revenue for a wide variety of health and education initiatives—without hurting local businesses or customer sales. The revenue generated by Cook County’s tax will fund critical public health and safety priorities, and the health impact will be substantial. Harvard University researchers project that Cook County’s tax will reduce diabetes rates by seven percent, result in $25.80 in health care cost savings for every $1 invested, and prevent 37,000 cases of obesity over a ten-year period. Sugary drinks are the top source of added sugars for millions of people, increasing the risk for serious chronic diseases and higher health care costs. With each sugary drink tax that takes effect, communities across America are helping their residents lead healthy lives and reach their full potential. We urge more communities to follow Cook County’s example.”

DeLauro Calls on FDA to Do Its Job and Halt Deadly Salmonella Outbreak

WASHINGTON, DC — Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) today released the following statement regarding the Food and Drug Administration's active investigation into a multistate outbreak of Salmonella in papayas. Since the outbreak began in May, 46 people in 12 states have been sickened, 12 people have been hospitalized, and 1 person has died. “This deadly Salmonella outbreak linked to papayas is the latest example of deficiencies in our food safety system. It is outrageous that despite months of illnesses, and even the loss of life, we still do not know the direct source of the Salmonella outbreak. I strongly urge the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to do everything within its power to quickly identify the source, including issuing an import alert on suspected farms and halting the importation of papayas until the FDA and CDC can complete their investigations into the outbreak. American consumers need to trust that the food in their grocery stores are safe,” said DeLauro At this time, traceback investigations have identified Caribeña brand papayas from Mexico distributed by Grande Produce LLC as one brand linked to the outbreak. Grande Produce issued a limited voluntary recall for Caribeña brand Maradol papayas distributed between July 10 and July 19, 2017 on July 26, 2017. The FDA has not issued any “Import Alerts” for the suspected farms. DeLauro is a senior member on the subcommittee responsible for funding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is overseeing the investigation of papayas.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Washington, DC seen as worst: NRDC mapping project shows how hotter climate and CO2 can have severe air quality impacts in AZ, CT, CO, DC, DE, IL, IN, MA, MI, MO, NH, NY, OH, PA, RI, UT, VA & WI.

Washington, DC seen as worst: NRDC mapping project shows how hotter climate and CO2 can have severe air quality impacts in AZ, CT, CO, DC, DE, IL, IN, MA, MI, MO, NH, NY, OH, PA, RI, UT, VA & WI. WASHINGTON (July 11, 2017) – Four out of 10 Americans live in “double whammy” counties where unhealthy smog and pollen-producing ragweed– both tied to the growing climate crisis – combine to threaten respiratory health, a Natural Resources Defense Council mapping project released today shows. NRDC’s analysis found air quality “hot spots” in states and areas with the greatest percentages of people living in areas with both ragweed and unhealthy ozone days. Ironically, Washington, D.C., -- where climate action is being rolled back — leads the rankings followed by Connecticut, Rhode Island, Illinois and Pennsylvania. 127 million Americans live in zones where increased carbon dioxide and ozone smog pollution largely from burning fossil fuels, combined with more ragweed pollen, can worsen respiratory allergies and asthma. That can lead to more sick days, higher medical costs, and a rise in the number of heart problems and premature deaths each year. “It’s alarming: Today 127 million Americans live where ragweed and ozone can threaten their next breath. And climate change can make matters worse,” said Kim Knowlton, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, who oversaw the mapping project. “This double-whammy health threat will just get worse if we don’t curb climate change soon. It’s one reason why protecting our public health in the face of climate change is so important, not taking dangerous steps to unravel historic climate action.” Juanita Constible, special projects director in NRDC’s climate and clean air program, said, “It’s ironic and tragic that the nation’s key ‘hot spot’ is Washington, D.C., the very place where wrongheaded policy threatens to make climate and pollution problems worse by the day. We should instead continue on the path to strong ozone pollution limits, curbs on power plant carbon pollution and better vehicle fuel efficiency. That’s how we’ll ensure that Americans, today and tomorrow, have clean air to breathe.” NRDC unveiled the climate health maps in a telephone press conference today. In terms of the actual “double whammy” of smog and pollen, the 15 jurisdictions with the highest percentage of residents living in counties with both ragweed and unhealthy ozone days, in order, are (starting with the worst): the District of Columbia, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Utah, Ohio, Arizona, Michigan, Massachusetts, Delaware, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Indiana and Kansas. Other states that have been at the forefront of climate and clean energy action and are impacted include Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New York, Virginia and Wisconsin. Because climate change is one of the most serious global health threats, NRDC undertook the mapping project to show—by state and county -- how climate change can affect air pollution and public health on the local level. The climate health mapping project also highlights how local solutions can make the air safer and what state governments can and should do to curb climate-change fueled dirtier air, while the Trump administration moves to unravel national leadership on addressing climate change. Climate change is the central environmental challenge of our time. Carbon pollution from power plants and vehicles, and other greenhouse gases are contributing to hotter global temperatures, sea level rise and more extreme weather. Sixteen of the 17 warmest years globally since record keeping began in the 1880s have occurred since 2001, according to NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Rising temperatures and carbon pollution worsen smog and ragweed. Higher temperatures speed up the formation of smog. And rising carbon dioxide levels enhance the growth of ragweed and other pollen producing plants and as warm seasons get longer, higher pollen concentrations will be produced over a longer period each year. Climate change will increase the number of bad air days across much of the United States. This puts millions of Americans at risk for irritated eyes, noses, and lungs, but it’s particularly dangerous for young children, older adults, people who work or exercise outside, and our country’s more than 24 million asthma sufferers. NRDC recommends steps individuals and others can take to head off a climate-propelled public health crisis, including: * Calling on companies and decision makers at all levels of government to help reduce smog-forming pollution and carbon pollution from power plants, vehicles, and other sources. * Demanding that our federal, state, and local governments prepare for the health threats of climate change. Today, less than one-third of U.S. states have developed a plan to address the health impacts of climate change. * Calling for implementing climate policies such as the Clean Power Plan to clean up dirty power plants. NRDC’s climate health maps and data are here:

Friday, July 7, 2017

Drovers, Farm Journal Foundation Strive to Meet Million Dollar Challenge

Philadelphia (July 6, 2017)—Farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses across the country have donated more than $640,000 to the Drovers/Farm Journal Foundation Million Dollar Wildfire Relief Challenge to benefit ranchers, pushing the partnership with the Howard G. Buffett Foundation more than half way to its goal. In May, the Buffett Foundation generously agreed to match, dollar-for-dollar, all monetary donations made by July 31 up to $1 million. The goal of the Challenge is to raise at least $2 million, including the match by the Buffett Foundation, to help ranchers affected by the devastating March wildfires rebuild what they lost, particularly fencing. The fires burned 1.6 million acres in Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado, leaving thousands of miles of fence burned or damaged, among other things. By June 29, donations had been made online and by mail, from 46 states. Many donations were accompanied by handwritten notes of support, well-wishes and gratitude, reflecting the generous spirit of American farming country. “We are grateful for the outpouring of support to date and we’re working hard to meet the full challenge. This is a rare opportunity to double the magnitude of assistance to ranchers—and we’re hopeful that all of agriculture will pull together to meet the challenge by the July 31 deadline,” said Charlene Finck, Chief Content Officer of Farm Journal Media and President of the Farm Journal Foundation. Rebuilding efforts are underway, but the road ahead is long and arduous. More than 1.6 million acres of pasture will require special attention to forage type, grazing pressure and rainfall; an estimated 18,000 miles of fencing needs to be replaced at a cost of up to $10,000 a mile; and thousands of cows will need to be added back to herds across the High Plains. “It is great to see that our matching contribution pledge is helping inspire others to show their support for ranchers who are working hard to rebuild what the wildfires destroyed,” said Howard G. Buffett, Chairman and CEO of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and part of the ranching community in southeast Arizona. “We look forward to matching these funds and bringing additional aid to the ongoing recovery efforts.” All donations will be administered through the Working Ranch Cowboys Association Foundation, a respected national nonprofit dedicated to assisting working ranch cowboys and their families in times of need. To learn more and to track wildfire relief efforts and keep up to date on the ranchers’ continuing story, visit About the Howard G. Buffett Foundation The Howard G. Buffett Foundation has committed over $1 billion since its inception in 1999 to catalyze transformational change to improve the world and the lives of the most impoverished and marginalized populations. We see the Foundation’s resources as the rare risk capital that can be deployed to create change in even the most difficult of circumstances. We invest our funding in three main areas: global food security; conflict mitigation; and public safety. About Drovers Drovers, the trusted information partner to farmers and ranchers since 1873, has unprecedented reach across the industry delivered through the multi-media platforms of Farm Journal Media. Our print magazine reaches 250,000 cattlemen, the largest coverage of any national cattle magazine, while the Drovers brand delivers daily news and market information on, newsletters, CattleExchange, AgriTalk radio and AgDay TV. About Farm Journal Foundation The Farm Journal Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization that works with U.S. farmers, ranchers and next generation populations to inform and engage national level policymakers on the important role that the United States can and should play in addressing global food security. About the Working Ranch Cowboys Association Foundation The Working Ranch Cowboys Association is headquartered in Amarillo, TX. The mission of WRCA is to promote ranching and to preserve the lifestyle of the working rancher and the working ranch cowboy. In 2001, WRCA formed a 501c3 foundation with the mission of providing financial assistance to working ranch cowboys and their families through scholarship funding and crisis assistance. The WRCA Foundation has provided over $3.5 million in financial support to ranching families since its inception. The 2017 school year will see 38 youth on scholarship which is the largest number in the history of the foundation. Crisis can happen anywhere at any time and the foundation is here all year long to provide support to the ranching community.

Sunday, June 25, 2017


(WASHINGTON) – Today, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) along with 24 other Members of Congress introduced the “Saving America’s Pollinators Act of 2017.” The legislation requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to take swift action to prevent mass bee die-offs and protect the health of honey bees and other critical pollinators by suspending the use of certain bee-toxic insecticides, known as neonicotinoids. It also requires the Secretary of the Interior, in coordination with the Administrator of the EPA, to monitor the health of native bee populations and to identify and publicly report the likely causes of bee kills. Recent research provides evidence of a link between neonicotinoids and poor bee health. Bee populations have declined steadily since 2006, and the continued decline will have serious implications to our food supply. Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich) said, “We must act now to preserve America’s food system. One of every three bites of food we eat is from a crop pollinated by honey bees. We depend on them as key suppliers to our food and crop selection. Unfortunately, the current administration is looking to reduce the funding to programs that protect our nation’s pollinators. As a result of the massive, widespread decline of honey bee populations throughout the country, our nation’s crops such as apples, soybeans, and sugar beets will soon disappear. The ‘Saving America’s Pollinators Act’ will address this threat to honey bee populations by suspending the use of certain neonicotinoids and by requiring the EPA to conduct a full review of the scientific evidence before allowing the entry of other neonicotinoids into the market.” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) said, “Bees and other pollinators play a critical role in our food supply. With their populations declining at an alarming rate, we need to take a step back and resolve the questions surrounding the safe use of these pesticides. The long-term viability of our farms and food system depends on it.” With the introduction of the Saving America’s Pollinators Act, Congress will follow the example states like Maryland, Connecticut, and Minnesota and local communities like Eugene, OR; Spokane, WA; and Seattle, WA that have already adopted measures to protect pollinators from neonicotinoids. The federal government has also taken action to discontinue the use of neonicotinoids on national wildlife refuge system lands. This bill is supported by: American Bird Conservancy, Avaaz, Audubon Society of New Hampshire, Bat World Sanctuary, Inc., Beyond Pesticides, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Environmental Health, Center for Food Safety, Central Maryland Beekeepers Association, Earthjustice, Ecological Farming Association, Environment America, Equal Exchange, Fair World Project, Family Farm Defenders, Friends of the Earth, Food Democracy Now!, Food and Water Watch, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, National Co+op Grocers, National Organic Coalition, Natural Resources Defense Council, Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut, Northeast Organic Farming Association - Interstate Council, Northeast Organic Farming Association – Massachusetts, Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey, Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Maryland Pesticide Education Network, Midwest Organic Sustainable Education Service, Organic Consumers Association, Organic Farmers' Agency for Relationship Marketing, Inc., Organization for Bat Conservation, Oregon Tilth, People and Pollinators Action Network, Pesticide Action Network North America, Pollinate Minnesota, Sierra Club, Regeneration International, United Natural Foods Inc., The Cornucopia Institute, Toxics Action Center, Toxic Free North Carolina, and International Association for Human Values.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Applications Now Open for 2017 Precision Impact Award

Lenexa, Kan. (May 31, 2017)—Each year, the Precision Impact Award (PIA) recognizes a retailer or management individual on a national level for excellence in incorporating precision agriculture into their retail operation and their farmer-customers’ operations. Entries for the 2017 award are now being accepted for consideration. “Ag retailers are on the front line of helping farmers implement sustainable and profitable practices with precision ag. They play a valuable role in providing cutting-edge and practical technologies that improve farmers’ yields,” said Rhonda Brooks, AgPro Editor. “AgPro is proud to help recognize leaders in the industry with the Precision Impact Award.” The award recipient will be announced during the annual ARA Conference and Expo, which is slated for Nov. 28–30, 2017, at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix. During the conference, the winner will be presented the Precision Impact Award and will have their business highlighted for exceptional achievement. The award recipient will also be featured in AgPro magazine. SST Software is sponsoring the PIA for a second consecutive year in conjunction with AgPro magazine and the Ag Retailers Association. “This award represents the best innovation in precision agriculture, and SST strives to create and provide this innovation to the retail market,” said Joe Akin, SST Software Chief Operating Officer. All submissions for the award are due no later than Aug. 31, 2017.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Mars, Incorporated Launches THE COCOA EXCHANGE

An Experiential Platform in Chocolate MT. ARLINGTON, NJ (May 3, 2017)–Mars, Incorporated announced today the launch of THE COCOA EXHANGE™, a direct to consumer platform that provides a rewarding way to turn a passion for cocoa into a worthwhile profession. THE COCOA EXCHANGE™ products are designed to be experienced, not to sit on a store shelf, which is why the brand brings them to consumers directly through specially curated in-home experiences. Cocoa has been a passion of the Mars family for more than 100 years. Launched in the family kitchen in Tacoma, Washington, today Mars, Inc. is the world’s largest chocolate company. This exceptional pedigree, combined with the contribution of three in-house culinary chefs, brings chocolate to life in unexpected formats that are 100% exclusive to the THE COCOA EXCHANGE™. Committed to providing a truly wide-ranging experience, THE COCOA EXCHANGE™ offers three curated, proprietary brands: • DOVE® SIGNATURE™ - Dive into the silky smooth world of DOVE® SIGNATURE™ chocolate • PURE DARK™ - Explore chocolate beyond the candy bar, for serious chocolate adventurers • POD & BEAN™ - Discover your new secret ingredient in the kitchen with POD & BEAN™ products. Offering limitless savory options all made with chocolate, from White Chocolate Raspberry Honey Mustard to Chipotle Hot Sauce, you’ll find that cocoa goes with just about everything. The direct to consumer format of THE COCOA EXCHANGE™ provides a simple and rewarding opportunity for anyone looking for a “side hustle.” As a Curator, any cocoa-obsessed individual can take their love of chocolate and turn it into their own business by hosting an in-home tasting experience for friends and family. With the culinary expertise of Mars and a broad range of chocolate offerings, individuals can customize their approach based on their preferences and the tastes of their Hosts and customers. THE COCOA EXCHANGE™ Curator opportunities include: • Hosting an in-home experience, which is simple and rewarding - their friends will have a blast and hosts earn credits which they can use to shop for free! • Creating custom experiences for their tasting experiences using 100% exclusive products. • Selling through online retail – Curators have their own personal online storefront that is always open, collecting orders and is maintained by THE COCOA EXCHANGE™ • Earning flexible income and perks, including o 25-40% commissions on personal sales o Product Discounts o Flexible schedule and an opportunity to have their own business THE COCOA EXCHANGE™ is also committed to giving back. Mars, Inc. mapped the Cocoa Genome and with a bean-to-bar process, they lead the world’s chocolate producer’s Cocoa Sustainability efforts. DOVE® and THE COCOA EXHANGE™ have also partnered with CARE®, a premier humanitarian organization, to provide women in the Cote d’Ivoire, a cocoa producing country in West Africa, with Village Savings & Loan Associations where they can learn business skills and build their own businesses.

Five U.S. Delegates Among 100 Young Leaders Appointed to Help Tackle Global Food Security Challenge at International Agriculture Summit

More than 1,000 applied as delegates for the 2017 Youth Ag-Summit to be held October 9-13 in Brussels, Belgium RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (May 3, 2017) – Crop Science, a division of Bayer, is pleased to announce that five millennials in agriculture have been selected to represent the U.S. at the third Youth Ag-Summit, to take place in Brussels, Belgium, from October 9-13, 2017. The young leaders are part of a delegation of 100 people from 49 countries selected to participate in a week-long think-tank focused on identifying innovative, sustainable and actionable solutions to address global food security challenges. Themed “Feeding a Hungry Planet,” this year’s summit aims to address the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals of ending hunger, achieving food security and promoting sustainable agriculture. This year’s summit will be the third that Bayer has offered to young people around the world, and represents a long-standing history of support for the next generation of leaders and innovators. “The agricultural industry can contribute strongly to achieving some of the key U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, but this also requires the active involvement of the next generation. The Youth Ag-Summit aims to give young leaders the opportunity to foster their ideas, share best practices and explore the role of modern agriculture in feeding a hungry planet,” said Liam Condon, member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG and head of the Crop Science Division. The five young delegates representing the U.S. are: Anna Gomes, age 20 from Ferndale, California, is an undergraduate at the University of California, Davis studying agriculture and environmental education with an emphasis in plant and soil science. She is a National FFA alum, has held internships with the Climate Institute in Washington, D.C., and participated in study abroad programs taking her everywhere from London to Paris. All of these experiences have ultimately solidified her passion for plants. During high school she started an agricultural business, Anna’s Herbs, growing and marketing herbs and flowers to local consumers through farmers markets. Trading labor for greenhouse space, she worked for a local farmer and learned the basics of farming, marketing and nurturing young crops. All this has led to her current activities, which include a biology lab assistant, serving as a research intern for the UC Davis Water Management Lab, and the SCOPE Project, a plant breeding for organic systems initiative. Upon graduation in 2018, she will focus on researching climate change and its impact on food production. Ben Carson, age 20 from Plant City, Florida, found early inspiration through his upbringing in the thriving farming region of Central Florida. Although citrus production used to be one of Florida's largest economic drivers, the citrus industry has been greatly impacted by citrus greening. This exposure helped foster an early interest in agriculture and the belief in the importance of growing nutritious food for thriving communities. During high school, he furthered that interest by spending his spring breaks in Brazilian favelas working with impoverished, food insecure children. Today, he is a finance and marketing major at Samford University. After graduation, he hopes to provide management consulting services to agricultural businesses to boost economic development around the country. Emily Buck, age 24 from Gallatin, Tennessee, has devoted her career to agricultural policy. Buck grew up on a 400-acre family farm, participated in 4-H and FFA, and later earned a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee, a background that fostered her passion for agriculture. She currently works for the House of Representatives as a congressional staffer for Diane Black, where she guides policy on agricultural issues. As someone who lives with Crohn’s disease, Emily knows what it’s like to go long periods without food. The resulting difficulty with studying and maintaining a job during those times has given her a personal glimpse into one dimension of what it’s like to be profoundly hungry. This has inspired her quest to find solutions for others by helping to foster a policy environment in which agriculture can flourish. Julie Greenwald, age 21, from Boston, Massachusetts, is pursuing a double major in environmental studies and cultural studies, with a minor in peace and justice from Villanova University. The young scholar has earned a 3.94 GPA, was on the Dean’s list for three consecutive terms and has raised more than $23,000 for the university. Beyond these accomplishments, Greenwald spent five weeks living and working on organic farms in three Belgian cities this past summer. Her agricultural career aspirations are guided by her belief that food security is a basic human right. Field experience at home and abroad, coursework and her personal research have all inspired her to roll-up her sleeves alongside her peers to discover solutions to one of the most complex problems of our time. Noah Hamlish, age 22 from Chicago, Illinois, is a Thomas J. Watson Fellow researching aquaculture practices in Thailand, Indonesia, New Zealand, Chile, Norway and Scotland. He received a B.A. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Wesleyan University. There he was an elected member of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and recipient of the Scott Biomedical Prize and William Firshein Prize in molecular biology for research completed during his senior year. He also held an undergraduate research fellowship at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and an internship at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where he cultivated a passion for understanding the foundations for healthy aquatic environments.He hopes to combine his scientific background with his recent experiences on fish farms to promote new perspectives on aquaculture in his community. In the future, he would like to direct food science research that benefits sustainable, socially conscious urban farming and food production initiatives through studying more efficient biological systems. The chosen delegates – who all share a passion for agriculture and a vision of a world without hunger – will undertake group projects and participate in industry tours, as well as learn from expert guest speakers. Their mission is to come up with concrete new ideas that can drive agricultural progress across the globe and be put into practice back home. To be considered for participation, delegates were required to submit essays on the topic of food insecurity, factoring in the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals. A total of 1,187 essays from 95 different countries were submitted, all of which were reviewed by a panel of industry experts, including six U.S. judges representing national youth leadership organizations such as the FFA and 4-H, academia, a former Youth Ag-Summit delegate and Bayer. The 100 delegates attending this year’s summit hail from the following 49 countries: Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. Summit partners include Groene Kring (GK) and Fédération des Jeunes Agriculteurs (FJA). Visit to meet the delegates and to learn more about the Summit. Follow the latest news on @YouthAgSummit or

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Farmers and Ranchers Need Comprehensive Tax Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 5, 2017 – America’s farmers and ranchers need a flexible tax code that gives them freedom to both grow and adapt quickly to changes beyond their control, the American Farm Bureau Federation told Congress today. Pat Wolff, senior director of congressional relations for AFBF, addressed agriculture’s need for sweeping tax reform in a hearing before the House Agriculture Committee. “Running a farm or ranch business is challenging under the best of circumstances,” Wolff said. “Farmers and ranchers need a tax code that recognizes the unique financial challenges that impact them.” Wolff urged Congress to create and retain tax policies that support high-risk, capital-intensive businesses like farms and ranches. Farm Bureau supports many of the provisions in the House’s proposed blueprint for tax reform, including reduced income tax rates, reduced capital gains taxes, immediate business expensing, and estate tax repeal. But, Wolff explained, the plan can be improved by reinstating benefits like the deduction for business interest expense and guaranteeing the continuation of stepped-up basis, cash accounting and like-kind exchanges. “Farming and ranching is a cyclical business where a period of prosperity can be followed by one or more years of low prices, poor yields or even weather disaster,” Wolff said. Farmers, she added, depend on flexibility and benefits in the tax code that allow them to recover capital investments and put their money back to work on their farms quickly. Tax reform is critical to the sustainability of American agriculture and farmers’ ability to feed, fuel and clothe the nation. “Farming and ranching is both a way of life and a way of making a living for the millions of individuals and families that own 99 percent of our nation’s more than 2 million farms and ranches,” Wolff said. A comprehensive tax reform package must not overlook the financial tools farmers and ranchers depend on for keeping their businesses viable from one season to the next.

Monday, April 3, 2017

AFBF and NGFA Urge Senate to Confirm Sonny Perdue as Agriculture Secretary This Week

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 3, 2017 – The American Farm Bureau Federation and National Grain and Feed Association today joined in calling on the U.S. Senate to confirm Sonny Perdue as the 31st agriculture secretary this week before beginning a two-week spring recess on April 7. The Senate Agriculture Committee, in an overwhelming bipartisan vote on March 30, approved recommending confirmation of the former two-term Georgia governor to the full Senate. “U.S. farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses – and the consumers we serve – need the strong, capable leadership at USDA that Gov. Perdue will provide,” the AFBF and NGFA said. “He is a dedicated, accomplished, innovative, problem-solving and proven public servant, and we need him at the USDA to begin addressing a backlog of policy issues that are awaiting his attention and to begin the process of filling key positions within the department. It also is vital to have Gov. Perdue engaged fully within the administration and with Congress on international trade, farm bill and regulatory issues affecting U.S. farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses.” Perdue has the bipartisan support of six past agriculture secretaries, the AFBF and NGFA noted, as well as the support of nearly 700 agriculture groups from across the nation.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Grand Prize Winners Announced in Truckload Carriers Association/Overdrive Magazine/ Driver of the Year Contests

Owner-Operator of the Year: Gary Buchs, who is leased to Landstar System, Inc. and Company Driver of the Year: Murray Manuliak of Bison Transport win prestigious contest NASHVILLE, Tenn. – At the Truckload Carriers Association’s (TCA) annual awards banquet tonight, the organization and its partners Overdrive Magazine and, announced the winners of the 2016 Driver of the Year Contests. The Owner Operator of the Year is Gary Buchs of Colfax, Illinois, who is leased to Landstar System, Inc. of Jacksonville, Florida. The Company Driver of the Year is Murray Manuliak of Brandon, Manitoba, who drives for Bison Transport of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Both drivers received a $25,000 cash prize for their achievements. To view photos from the event, click here. The prestigious annual contests, sponsored by Love’s Travel Stops of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Cummins Inc. of Columbus, Indiana, recognize the top owner operators and company drivers in the U.S. and Canada who provide reliable and safe truck transportation in moving the nation's goods. The overall winners are selected from the finalists based on safe driving, efforts to enhance the public image of the trucking industry, and positive contributions to the winners’ local communities. For the owner operator candidates, business-owner skills are also judged. Russell Stubbs, TCA’s 2016-17 Chairman, said, “The lifeblood of the trucking industry is its drivers. They work tirelessly day in and day out, but often only get noticed when something goes wrong. In recognizing safe, dedicated drivers like Murray and Gary, we hope to shine a light on the great things our drivers do every single mile.” Manuliak has been a professional truck driver for 25 years, accruing over 3.1 million consecutive accident-free miles. He serves as an in-cab instructor in Bison’s Driver Finishing Program, which has allowed him to share his experience with the next generation of truck drivers. “Murray is well-spoken and has a strong voice within our organization, making sure our business is a leader in safety,” said Rob Penner, president and CEO of Bison Transport. “He is a role model for all professional drivers to follow.” Manuliak has also had success in truck driving competitions. In his first year driving in the Provincial Truck Driving Championships, he won Rookie of the Year honors and helped Bison to win Team of the Year, and he has earned 1st place in the Super B category as well as represented Team Manitoba in the National Truck Driving Championship, where he earned 3rd place. Gary Buchs, the Owner Operator of the Year winner, has driven 2.3 million consecutive accident-free miles over the last 27 years, earning him numerous awards including Landstar’s 10-year Safe Driving Award, 10 Landstar Star of Quality Awards, and the 2015 TravelCenters of America Citizen Driver Award. “Gary’s commitment to the safety and education of others speaks to his ability to represent our industry in a positive light,” said Jim Gattoni, president and CEO of Landstar. “He would make an outstanding ambassador to the public, projecting an image that is worthy of the industry’s safe, honorable, customer-driven professionals who deliver the goods that touch our lives every day.” In addition to his work behind the wheel, Buchs dedicates his time to helping others and staying active. He spends at least one week per year assisting victims of major wind or flood damage, and donates produce from his farmstead to local food pantries. Buchs is an avid runner who completed the Chicago Marathon in 2015. He attributes his good health to maintaining a balanced life. “When I make balance a priority, when I get home, I can park the truck and fully turn my mind and body to those other important aspects of my life,” he said. Brad Holthaus, vice president of trucking media sales at Randall-Reilly, the company that produces Overdrive Magazine and, said, “Gary and Murray represent professional truck drivers who are skilled at moving an 18-wheeler from point A to point B—their safety records are in the top 2% of all truck drivers—but beyond their driving skills, they represent kind, caring citizens who are dedicated to helping others. As deft as they are at driving, they are even better men.” Each of the runner-ups in both categories received checks for $2,500: Philip Keith of Long Beach, Mississippi, who is leased to WEL Companies, Inc. of De Pere, Wisconsin; Kevin Kocmich of Litchfield, Minnesota, who is leased to Diamond Transportation System, Inc. of Racine, Wisconsin; David McGowan of Marinette, Wisconsin, who drives for WEL Companies; and William Poteet of Lakeland, Florida, who drives for Saddle Creek Transportation, Inc. of Lakeland, Florida. For further information on the competition, please visit and follow TCA on Facebook——and Twitter— You can also learn about this year’s Annual Convention on both social media sites with the hashtag #2017TCA.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Waffle day celebrated

To conduct the International Waffle Day Survey, the researchers at National Today []—America's favorite online destination to commemorate quirky and fun holidays—asked 1,000 Americans about their favorite breakfast foods. *** NATIONALTODAY.COM INTERNATIONAL WAFFLE DAY SURVEY ***(survey of 1,000 Americans, conducted on March 20, 2017) >> THE VAST MAJORITY OF AMERICANS LOVE MAPLE SYRUP ON THEIR WAFFLES 62% of Americans say that maple syrup is their favorite waffle topping. That's more than 6x the second-place winner—butter, which is the favorite waffle topping of just 10% of Americans. >> BUT GIVEN THE CHOICE, MOST AMERICANS WILL TAKE BUTTER, TOO Although most Americans would choose maple syrup over butter if they were forced to choose only one topping, 65% of Americans love butter on their waffles. The good news? Most of us don't have to choose—we can have both. >> RANKING OF THE TOP 10 WAFFLE TOPPINGS #1: Maple Syrup (62%) #2: Butter (10%) #3: Fresh Fruit (8%) #4: Peanut butter (4%) #5: Fruit sauce (4%) #6: Nutella (4%) #7: Chocolate syrup (3%) #8: Honey (2%) #9: Jelly/jam (2%) #10: Apple butter (2%) To learn more about International Waffle Day, you can visit []. While there, you can also read about other fun holidays, including National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day []and National Beer Day [].