Tuesday, January 31, 2017

IHOP® RESTAURANTS EXTENDS ‘ALL YOU CAN EAT PANCAKES’ FOR GUESTS UNTIL FEBRUARY 12

For a Limited Time, Breakfast Lovers Can Enjoy As Many of the World’s Most Delicious, Fluffiest Buttermilk Pancakes They Want at an Incredible Value at IHOP Restaurants Nationwide (January 30, 2017 – Glendale, CA) – The anticipation has been building since fans took to social media last year to beg IHOP® Restaurants to bring back ‘All You Can Eat Pancakes.’ So, to thank loyal Breakfastarians everywhere, today IHOP announced the extension of this wildly popular promotion, which lets guests dig into unlimited orders of its freshly made, world-famous Buttermilk Pancakes for a great price* until February 12! Just in time to gather family and friends and celebrate the New Year, IHOP’s ‘All You Can Eat Pancakes’ offer features a great value on the fluffy, golden pancakes that set the breakfast standard almost six decades ago. After enjoying a full stack of five Buttermilk pancakes – or a short stack of two pancakes with a combo plate of eggs, golden hash browns and choice of sausage, ham or hickory-smoked bacon – guests can request additional short stacks of two Buttermilk pancakes until they’ve fulfilled their craving. ‘All You Can Eat Pancakes’ is available all day, every day for the month of January at participating IHOP restaurants nationwide. “The best way we know to kick off the New Year is to offer our guests’ favorite freshly made breakfast at IHOP’s best value. Almost six decades after serving our first stack of delicious, made-to-order Original Buttermilk Pancakes, IHOP continues to bring people together,” said Kirk Thompson, senior vice president, Marketing, IHOP. “Every year our guests look forward to IHOP’s ‘All You Can Eat Pancakes’ offer, asking for the return of a great value on our signature pancakes, to be enjoyed any time of day, every day, for the entire month.”

Beat Foodborne Illness this Super Bowl

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2017 — As excitement for this year's Super Bowl grows, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages consumers to use safe food handling practices at a championship level and avoid becoming one of the estimated 48 million Americans who gets sick from foodborne illnesses each year. The Super Bowl draws over 100 million television viewers who consume approximately 1.3 billion chicken wings during game day parties. With an average National Football League game taking more than 3 hours to play, Americans will be mixing plenty of football watching with food during Super Bowl parties. At these parties, it is vital to keep foods out of the "Danger Zone," which is the temperature range between 40 °F and 140 °F. When foods are left in the "Danger Zone," bacteria can multiply rapidly, causing a single bacterium to multiply to 17 million in 12 hours. Avoid serving Super Bowl favorites, such as pizza and chicken wings, at room temperature for the entire game. When serving food or ordering takeout food, use the following game plan: • If warm takeout foods are to be served immediately, keep them at 140 °F or above by placing in chafing dishes, preheated warming trays or slow cookers. • If take-out foods will not be served immediately, either keep them warm in a preheated oven, or divide the food into smaller portions or pieces, place in shallow containers, and refrigerate. At serving time, reheat to 165 °F. • Cold foods that are served should be kept at 40 °F or below, which can be done by nesting serving dishes in bowls of ice. Avoid storing food outside, where the sun can quickly warm foods in plastic storage containers and animals can get into. • Start a game day tradition by using a food thermometer to ensure foods being served to guests are not in the "Danger Zone." To ensure home prepared chicken wings are safe, follow these tips: • Do not wash raw chicken wings. Sixty-seven percent of respondents in a 2016 FDA food safety survey indicated they washed raw chicken parts; however washing will not destroy pathogens and may increase the risk of contaminating other foods and surfaces. • Ensure chicken wings are safe to eat by verifying they have reached an internal temperature of 165 °F. Take the temperature of multiple wings in the thickest part of the wing being careful to avoid the bone. If you need food safety coaching, call your personal coaches at the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live with a food safety specialist at AskKaren.gov, available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday, in English or Spanish. Learn more about key food safety practices at foodsafety.gov and on Twitter @USDAFoodSafety.

Truckload Carriers Association and CarriersEdge Announce 2017 Best Fleets to Drive For

ALEXANDRIA, Va. and MARKHAM, Ont. – The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and CarriersEdge are pleased to announce the 2017 Best Fleets to Drive For. These 20 for-hire trucking companies from across North America are being recognized for providing exemplary work environments for their professional truck drivers and employees. “These companies represent the best of the best in truckload. As industry innovators, they bring fresh ideas that not only create a desirable workplace for employees, but also propel trucking to exciting new terrains,” said TCA President John Lyboldt. To be considered for the Best Fleets program, companies operating ten or more trucks were required to receive a nomination from at least one of its company drivers or owner-operators. CarriersEdge then interviewed human resources representatives and executives of the nominated fleets regarding their corporate direction, policies, and programs, and evaluated the fleets against a scoring matrix covering a variety of categories, such as total compensation package, health benefits, pension plans, professional development opportunities, and career path/advancement opportunities, among other criteria. Driver feedback from a selection of each fleet was then compared with management’s and incorporated into the final score, resulting in the selection of this year’s winners and honorable mentions. Fleets raised the bar for driver programs more dramatically this year than any previous year. Without further ado, here are the 2017 Top 20 Best Fleets to Drive For: Bison Transport Winnipeg, MB Boyle Transportation Billerica, MA Central Oregon Trucking Company, Inc. Redmond, OR Challenger Motor Freight Inc. Cambridge, ON Fremont Contract Carriers, Inc. Fremont, NE FTC Transportation, Inc. Oklahoma City, OK Garner Trucking, Inc. Findlay, OH Grand Island Express, Inc. Grand Island, NE Halvor Lines, Inc. Superior, WI Interstate Distributor Co. Tacoma, WA Kriska Holdings Ltd. Prescott, ON Landstar System, Inc. Jacksonville, FL Maverick Transportation, LLC North Little Rock, AR Motor Carrier Service, LLC Northwood, OH Nussbaum Transportation Hudson, IL ONE For Freight Milton, ON Prime Inc. Springfield, MO Smokey Point Distributing Arlington, WA TLD Logistics Services, Inc. Knoxville, TN TransPro Freight Systems Ltd. Milton, ON Two companies, FTC Transportation, Inc., and Halvor Lines, Inc., have achieved the milestone of five consecutive years on the Best Fleets list, while Motor Carrier Service, LLC, Fremont Contract Carriers, Inc., Landstar System, Inc., and Grand Island Express, Inc. have continued their streaks as Best Fleets, each appearing on the list for over the fifth time. Five companies have also been identified as “Fleets to Watch” honorable mentions for demonstrating innovation in their driver programs: Crete Carrier Corp. Lincoln, NE Hirschbach Motor Lines, Inc. Dubuque, IA Kroon Brothers Transport, LLC Hanover, PA Paper Transport, Inc. De Pere, WI Transport Corporation of America, Inc. Eagan, MN Phase two of the contest will divide the highest scoring fleets into small and large fleet categories, from which two overall winners will be selected. These awards will be sponsored by EpicVue of Salt Lake City, UT, and Bose Ride of Framingham, MA. The overall winners’ names will be announced during TCA’s Annual Convention, March 26-29, 2017, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Follow the hashtag #BestFleets2017 and TCA’s Twitter account (www.truckload.org/Twitter) and Facebook page (www.truckload.org/Facebook). For more details about Best Fleets to Drive For, visit www.BestFleetsToDriveFor.com.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Over 100 food and farm groups oppose Puzder for labor secretary

Coalition urges senators to reject nominee, citing long track record of workers’ rights violations and conflicts of interest with role as CEO of CKE Restaurants Washington, DC -- Today, 105 food and agriculture organizations, representing more than 10 million people across the food system, sent a letter to Capitol Hill urging senators to oppose the confirmation of fast food CEO Andrew Puzder as secretary of labor. This clarion call from the nation’s farmers, food-system workers and public health advocates, led by Corporate Accountability International, Food Chain Workers Alliance, Friends of the Earth, and Real Food Media, comes on the heels of growing opposition and controversy surrounding Trump’s pick to head the Department of Labor. A recent Capital & Main investigation found that under Puzder’s watch as CEO, CKE Restaurants faced more federal employment discrimination lawsuits than any other major fast food chain. The corporation violated workers’ rights, including wage theft and failed to provide employees with overtime pay. “Andrew Puzder is dangerous for working families and bad for our food system,” said Jose Oliva, co-director, Food Chain Workers Alliance. “The country needs a labor secretary who will protect working families, not corporate interests. Puzder’s track record as CEO of CKE Restaurants proves that he should be kept as far away from Washington as possible.” The letter calls the nomination of Andrew Puzder a betrayal of the president’s promise to “improve the lives of working people” and urges senators to reject Puzder’s nomination. It expresses grave concern with the conflicts of interest between Puzder’s tenure at CKE Restaurants and the responsibilities of a labor secretary, including the fact that: • Puzder’s company has faced numerous Department of Labor violations for failing to pay the minimum wage or overtime. • Sixty percent of inspections at Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants found labor law violations. • Puzder has opposed both raising the minimum wage and enforcing overtime rules and mandatory sick leave. “Putting an outspoken critic of worker protections and a living wage in charge of the Department of Labor is straight out of an Orwellian nightmare,” said Kari Hamerschlag, deputy director of food and technology, Friends of the Earth. “The Senate must reject the nomination of Puzder if it cares at all about the basic rights of working people.” Since Puzder’s nomination, advocacy groups have documented numerous workers’ rights violations under the watch of the former fast food CEO. For instance, research released by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United reveals a long history of labor violations at CKE Restaurants during Puzder’s tenure. Surveys from hundreds of CKE employees reveal that women working at CKE reported more than 1.5 times the rate of sexual harassment as reported for the industry overall. “The choice of Andrew Puzder for secretary of labor is a dangerous one for this country’s working families,” said Sriram Madhusoodanan, Value [the] Meal campaign director, Corporate Accountability International. “If President Trump truly wants to ‘drain the swamp’, why is he nominating people like Puzder, who have played an outsized role creating the swamp in the first place?” In January, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s workers joined the Fight for $15 in opposing Puzder’s nomination, taking part in actions in more than two dozen cities. Widespread opposition and questions surrounding Puzder’s company’s labor practices have prompted Congress to postpone the nomination hearing until February. “Across the country, millions of people are demanding real change when it comes to our food system and the people who work in it,” said Anna LappĂ©, founder, Real Food Media. “Our Department of Labor must reflect those people -- not corporate bottom lines. It is unacceptable to nominate someone who has such a callous attitude to the struggles of working families to head the labor department.” The organizations signed onto the letter represent a broad cross-section of the food and labor movement, uniting groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists, Earthjustice, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the Workers’ Center of Central New York, among many others. The unprecedented nature of this coalition underscores the unique threat Puzder faces to people advocating for environmental protection, workers’ rights, and healthy food.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Titan Farms Wins the 2017 Top Producer of the Year Award

Chicago, Ill. (Jan. 26, 2017)—Fruit and vegetable producers Chalmers and Lori Anne Carr of Ridge Spring, S.C., have been named the 2017 winners of the Top Producer of the Year award. The husband-and-wife team are owners of Titan Farms, which produces peaches on 5,300 acres as well as peppers and broccoli on 870 acres. “Chalmers and Lori Anne are first-generation farmers who have built an impressive operation on sound business principles and a defined approach to management,” noted Sara Schafer, Editor of Top Producer magazine. “They have adapted their business strategy to changing consumer trends and have strived to build a dedicated and engaged team.” Chalmers and Lori Anne are owners and serve as president and vice president, respectively. They are a premier grower, packer and processor of peaches and vegetables in the eastern U.S., and they serve as the largest supplier to retailers such as Walmart, Harris Teeter and Wegmans. The Carrs employ 40 full-time employees and 630 H2A workers. Sponsored by Bayer CropScience and Case IH, the Top Producer of the Year contest is in its 18th year and represents the best in the business of farming. Three finalists are chosen from among numerous applications by a panel of judges based on entrepreneurial originality, financial and business progress and industry and community leadership. Also honored as finalists during the annual Top Producer of the Year banquet held Wednesday night in Chicago were brothers Richard and Roderick Gumz of Gumz Farms in Endeavor, Wis.; and John Pagel of Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy in Kewaunee, Wis. A total of 800 attendees participated in Farm Journal Media’s Top Producer Seminar, including more than 500 of the nation’s largest producers, representing over 4 million acres. Producers came to Chicago from 26 states. “There is no other event in agriculture that attracts such a concentration of the nation’s top producers,” said Doug Catt, Vice President, Crop Division, Farm Journal Media. “In the span of a few days, Top Producer Seminar attendees hear from the industry’s best experts and network with like-minded producers, as well as sponsors.” This year’s seminar theme, “Keep Calm, Farm On: Controlling Chaos in Uncertainty,” featured more than 30 different educational sessions for producers to hone their money, marketing and management skills and deal with today’s volatile farm economy. Premier Sponsors of the 2017 Top Producer Seminar include: Advance Trading; BASF; Bayer; Beck’s; Cargill; Case IH; Channel; CropZilla; Dow AgroSciences; DuPont Pioneer; ESN; FarmersEdge; Farmers Business Network; John Deere; K•Coe Isom; Soybean Premiums; Top Third Ag Marketing; Verdesian; Co-sponsors are: AgYield; CliftonLarsonAllen; Gulke Group; Rabo AgriFinance; Zaner Ag Hedge Supporting Sponsors: AllTech; BMO Harris Bank; Transition Point Business Advisors For more information on the Top Producer Seminar, visit www.TopProducerSeminar.com.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

When is corn in season? Right now with this 360-degree video series

BLOOMINGTON, Ill., Jan. 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers are more interested than ever in what really happens on today's farms, so Illinois corn farmer Justin Durdan decided to "show and tell." In a series of pioneering 360-degree videos, Durdan spent 2016 offering consumers a personal, panoramic view of the season-long action on his family's corn and soybean farm in LaSalle County. With the release of the "harvest" video, the Illinois Corn Marketing Board's series covers all four farming seasons – planning, planting, growing and harvesting. Available on www.watchusgrow.org/home-grown-corn, the videos also feature a Chicago-area radio personality and self-described "city girl" who questions Durdan about current farming practices and technologies. "We know consumers have questions about farming," Durdan says. "The goal with these videos is to answer those questions and let consumers see for themselves what we do on our farm." The video series includes Durdan showing the agricultural technologies he uses during each season – and how they help him be a good steward of the land: • Planning – He uses agricultural software to analyze results from previous years to decide what to plant – and in which fields – during the next season. "This is where stewardship starts," Durdan says. • Planting – An in-cab precision-planting monitor controls the precise number of seeds that are planted in different parts of every field, while GPS helps reduce seed overlap. • Growing – He uses precision technology in his sprayer to control the exact amount of herbicide and fertilizer applied to each plant, depending on what each plant needs. • Harvest – His combine removes the cob from the plant, removes the kernels from the cob and turns the cob and plant residue into mulch for the next year's crop. Durdan, who is the fifth generation to farm his family's land in Streator, believes it's important to give consumers an honest look at advanced ag technologies. "As farmers, we understand the sustainability benefits of today's farm technologies – growing more food on less land with fewer pesticides – but consumers likely don't. We need to keep sharing our story and explaining what we do and why."

Friday, January 13, 2017

U.S. AGRICULTURE GROUPS URGE TRUMP TO STRENGTHEN U.S.-CUBA TRADE RELATIONSHIP

~ National ag coalition encourages new Administration to support American agribusiness by advancing U.S.-Cuba trade relationship ~ WASHINGTON, D.C. - A national coalition of over 100 U.S. agriculture, trade, commerce-related businesses and associations, urged President-elect Trump to support American agriculture by strengthening the bilateral trade relationship between the U.S. and Cuba. The letter, organized by the Engage Cuba Coalition and USA Rice, also encourages the president-elect to support federal legislation that would allow American farmers and agribusiness to compete in Cuba's import market. Cuba imports up to 80% of its food, which amounts to about $2 billion annually, creating a huge potential export market for American farmers that is only 90 miles off our shores. However, U.S. producers are prohibited from offering private credit for the export of agricultural commodities to Cuba, severely restricting the ability of American farmers to compete in Cuba's growing market. "Your support in removing outdated financing and trade barriers for exporting agricultural products to our island neighbor could significantly strengthen a U.S. industry which supports 17 million jobs across the country, and can provide the Cuban people with high-quality American-grown food," the organizations wrote. "As a broad cross-section of rural America, we urge you not to take steps to reverse progress made in normalizing relations with Cuba, and also solicit your support for the agricultural business sector to expand trade with Cuba to help American farmers and our associated industries. It’s time to put the 17 million American jobs associated with agriculture ahead of a few hardline politicians in Washington." More information on Cuba's agriculture import market and federal legislation is available here. Full text of the letter is available here and below: January 12, 2017 President-elect Donald J. Trump 725 5th Avenue New York, NY 10022 Dear President-elect Trump, Congratulations on your successful campaign. On behalf of the undersigned U.S. agriculture, trade, commerce-related businesses and associations, we urge you to continue to show your support for American agriculture by advancing the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba and building on the progress that has already been made. Net farm income is down 46 percent from just three years ago, constituting the largest three-year drop since the start of the Great Depression. This strain on the farm economy is felt across all sectors of the industry and the thousands of small communities that make up rural America. The importance of trade to America’s farmers and ranchers cannot be overstated. The share of U.S. agricultural production exported overseas is 20 percent by volume, with some sectors being much higher. For example, exports account for over 70 percent of U.S. production of tree nuts and cotton, over 60 percent of soybeans, and over 50 percent of rice and wheat. Positive farm income throughout America would not be possible without increasing access to foreign markets, like Cuba. Mr. President-elect, as an international business icon, you understand how difficult it is to be competitive without the ability to extend credit to your customers. We need the Administration’s support for legislation that would remove these arbitrary and archaic restrictions on extending credit for the purchase of agricultural commodities and equipment. Your support in removing outdated financing and trade barriers for exporting agricultural products and equipment to our island neighbor could significantly strengthen a U.S. industry which supports 17 million jobs across the country, and can provide the Cuban people with high-quality American-grown food. Cuba imports nearly 80 percent of its food to feed a population of 11 million people and upwards of three million tourists annually. Cuba’s $2 billion agriculture import market could provide tremendous benefits for farmers across the country and help American agribusiness offset recent losses. In addition to the size of the Cuban market, its proximity to U.S. ports allows for considerably lower shipping costs and shorter delivery times than our foreign competitors. The logistical advantages alone should make Cuba a common-sense partner for two-way commerce. Instead, the federal government overreach has put American farmers at a global disadvantage. U.S. agriculture continues to lose out to our foreign competitors and our net sales have been steadily declining since 2009. As result of trade restrictions, the U.S. has fallen from its position as the number one supplier of agricultural products from 2003 to 2012, to now the number five supplier after the European Union, Brazil, Argentina, and Vietnam. The U.S. needs to be number one again. Especially given many of Cuba’s imports, including rice, poultry, dairy, soy, wheat, and corn make up more than 70 percent of what they import and they’re all grown right here in the U.S. by hardworking American farmers. As a broad cross-section of rural America, we urge you not to take steps to reverse progress made in normalizing relations with Cuba, and also solicit your support for the agricultural business sector to expand trade with Cuba to help American farmers and our associated industries. It’s time to put the 17 million American jobs associated with agriculture ahead of a few hardline politicians in Washington. We look forward to working closely with you and your team, and please let us know if we can provide any assistance moving forward. Sincerely, National Organizations American Farm Bureau Federation American Feed Industry Association American Pulse Association American Seed Trade Association American Soybean Association Corn Refiners Association Independent Professional Seed Association Livestock Exporters Association of the USA National Association of Wheat Growers National Barley Growers Association National Corn Growers Association National Council of Farmer Cooperatives National Farmers Union National Foreign Trade Council National Oilseed Processors Association National Potato Council National Turkey Federation Navajo Agricultural Products Industry North American Millers Association Rural & Agriculture Council of America U.S. Cattlemen's Association U.S. Cava Exports U.S. Dry Bean Council U.S. Wheat Associates USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council USA Poultry & Egg Export Council USA Rice Agribusiness Organizations AGCO Amerex Corporation Bibler Brothers Lumber and Construction Campbell Farms Carnes Farms, Inc. Clark AG Company Claxton Poultry ETW Enterprises, Inc. Shavings & Rice Hulls Falcon Rice Mill Farmers Rice Milling Co. Gulf Wise Commerce Hormel Foods Corporation Kennedy Rice Mill, LLC/Planters Rice Mill, LLC Koenig Vineyards Louisiana Rice Milling Company Mannco Fertilizer Martin Rice Company Newcomb Farms Poinsett Rice & Grain Producers Rice Mill Riceland Foods RiceTec, Inc Riviana Foods – American Rice, Inc Sandy Ridge Cotton Company Simmons Foods Sturman's Smokeshop Texas Rice Belt Warehouse, Inc TRC Trading Corporation State Organizations Alabama Farmers Federation Alabama Poultry Association Argicultural Council of Arkansas Arkansas Farm Bureau Arkansas Rice Council Arkansas Rice Federation California Rice Commission Central Louisiana Rice Growers Association Colorado Farm Bureau Colorado Pork Producers Council Georgia Farm Bureau Idaho Grain Producers Association Idaho Potato Commission Illinois Farm Bureau Illinois Soybean Association Illinois Soybean Growers Iowa Corn Growers Association Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Iowa Institute for Cooperatives Iowa Soybean Association Kansas Association of Wheat Growers Kansas Corn Growers Association Kansas Farm Bureau Kansas Livestock Association Kansas Soybean Association Kansas Wheat Commission Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation Louisiana Rice Growers Association Louisiana Rice Producer's Group Michigan Agri-Business Association Michigan Bean Shippers Michigan Soybean Association Minnesota Barley Council Minnesota Farm Bureau Minnesota Farmers Union Minnesota Grain and Feed Association Minnesota Turkey Growers Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Mississippi Poultry Association Missouri Farm Bureau New Mexico Cattle Growers Association New Mexico Wine and Grape Growers Association Northeast Louisiana Rice Growers Association Ohio Agribusiness Association Ohio Corn & Soy Texas Farm Bureau Texas Grain Sorghum Producers Texas Rice Producers Legislative Group

Monday, January 9, 2017

Farm Bureau President to Congress: Slash Regulations, Reform Immigration/Ag Labor

PHOENIX, January 8, 2017 – American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall and thousands of Farm Bureau members today asked Congress to pass sweeping reform of regulations that burden the lives of farmers and ranchers. Their request followed by days the introduction of major legislation to reassert congressional authority over agencies that increasingly ignore the law and basic constitutional limitations on their power. “The election should send a message—loud and clear—to our politicians: ignore rural America at your own risk!” Duvall said. During his annual address, Duvall issued his request for Farm Bureau members to send e-mails—using their smart phones—to Congress about the need for regulatory reform. And they responded on-the-fly. Duvall also called on Farm Bureau members to explain how, every day, the men and women who grow food for America and the world work to make the environment better. “Just think about it for a minute,” Duvall said. “By using modern technologies, today’s farmers grow more crops on the same amount of land, using less plowing and pesticides, feeding more people. By developing more uses for our crops, like energy, we are making our economy more sustainable. If farmers don’t take care of our land, we cannot stay in business.” Duvall reminded the 5,000 farmers and ranchers in attendance that a reliable and profitable supply of labor is central to economic sustainability. He called on Congress to pass legislation to assure farm laborers can work without fear of deportation. “Without a legal supply of labor, too many farmers face lost crops, and they can’t compete on the world market,” Duvall said. “Mr. Trump says he wants to keep American jobs from going overseas. One way he can do that is by keeping America’s food production in America.” A transcript of Duvall’s speech can be found here: http://www.fb.org/files/Speech_Transcript.pdf.