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2015 Master Cheesemakers

The Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker® program has graduated two new and four returning Master Cheesemakers.

The newest Master Cheesemakers are Adam Buholzer, of Klondike Cheese Company in Monroe, and Chris Roelli, of Roelli Cheese Haus in Shullsburg.  Buholzer is a fourth-generation cheesemaker and one of four Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers in the Buholzer family.  Adam is now certified as a Master for feta and Havarti.  Roelli is certified as a Master in cheddar, the variety on which his family’s original plant was founded.  Like Buholzer, Roelli is a fourth-generation Wisconsin cheesemaker. 

Joining the new Masters in the 2015 graduating class are veteran Masters who completed the program again to earn certification for additional cheese varieties. They are:

  • Ken Heiman, Nasonville Dairy, Marshfield, Wisconsin, now certified for cheddar and asiago, as well as feta and Monterey Jack. 
  • Mike Matucheski, Sartori Company, Antigo, Wisconsin, now certified for fontina and romano, as well as parmesan and asiago. 
  • Duane Petersen, Arla Foods USA Inc., Kaukauna, Wisconsin, now certified for havarti, as well as gouda and edam. 
  • Steve Stettler, Decatur Dairy Inc., Brodhead, Wisconsin, now certified for cheddar, as well as brick, farmer’s cheese, havarti, muenster and specialty Swiss.

 

Established in 1994 through a joint partnership of the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research, University of Wisconsin-Extension and Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB), the Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker® program is the most formalized, advanced training program in the nation. Patterned after European programs, it is administered by the Center for Dairy Research and funded by Wisconsin dairy producers, through WMMB.

Applicants must be active, licensed Wisconsin cheesemakers with at least 10 years of experience in a Quality Assured Plant. Cheesemakers can earn certification in up to two cheese varieties each time they enroll in the three-year program and must have been making those varieties as a licensed cheesemaker for a minimum of five years prior to entering the program. Once certified, they’re entitled to use the distinctive Master’s Mark® on their product labels and in other marketing materials.  Wisconsin now has 55 active Masters working in 33 companies across the state.

 

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A spokesman for John Deere says he wants to make it clear that if a farmer buys a tractor from John Deere, they own it.

Barry Nelson, Deere’s media relations director, tells Brownfield the question of who owns their equipment past the point of purchase has been in the news lately after a recent editorial in Wired Magazine.   “It was an opinion piece,” Nelson says,  “which inaccurately described Deere’s position concerning the intellectual property rights of software code.”

Nelson claims the headline also made it seem like John Deere was destroying the very idea of ownership.  But to Nelson, the issue is with the equipment’s computer software, “A lot of the software is protected and there are very good reasons for that: safety, emissions standards, and overall performance.  We don’t want just anybody to be able to go in there and hack the computer code.”

He says that doesn’t mean someone can’t repair their own tractor or work with a dealer and uses the analogy of  buying a book at a bookstore, “you own that book, but you still do not have the right to copy the book, modify the book or distribute copies to others.”

Nelson says copyright laws also exist with other vehicles and computers themselves.

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The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will issue a daily Avian Influenza Briefing, Monday-through-Friday as long as the situation warrants.  News releases will be issued for significant new developments.  There were no new infections in the state on Friday.

As of Friday afternoon there are six infected farms in four counties affecting 985,033 chickens and 303,823 turkeys.

The status of the infected farms:

  • Jefferson County Site 1:  Depopulation nearly complete, surveillance sampling complete, composting underway
  • Juneau County:  Depopulation complete, surveillance sampling complete, cleaning and disinfection underway
  • Barron County Site 1:  Depopulation complete, surveillance sampling complete, composting underway
  • Chippewa County:  Depopulation underway, surveillance sampling to begin soon
  • Jefferson County Site 2:  Depopulation underway, surveillance sampling to begin soon
  • Barron County Site 2:  Site evaluation complete, awaiting depopulation

 

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A Syngenta official says there’s a long-term risk in withholding biotechnology advances from U.S. farmers.  Responding to lawsuits against Syngenta, Agrisure commercial traits lead Duane Martin says growers and companies need new technologies as they become available.

“The fact that this has become a delay, an increase in potential costs, a legal and regulatory risk, certainly makes the decision to bring new traits, new technology to the market much more difficult for technology providers like Syngenta,” Martin told Brownfield Ag News.

The Viptera trait that resulted in China rejecting shipments of U.S. corn was commercialized with all legal and regulatory compliances in place, said Martin. The trait had also been approved by key countries identified as major U.S. markets, he said.  China was not among them.

Martin Phipps, an attorney for the plaintiffs suing Syngenta, says Viptera should not have been commercialized without import approval by China.

“Syngenta was clearly aware of the possible harm that could occur if they put something in the marketplace that didn’t have worldwide acceptance by our trading partners,” Phipps told Brownfield Ag News.

Plaintiffs want damages connected to a 2013 drop in the corn market that they say resulted from Chinese rejections of U.S. corn shipments.  Syngenta’s Duane Martin points to USDA records that show the corn price dropped 32 percent from the middle of June to the middle of October 2013.

“The first load of corn was rejected in China on the basis of the [MIR-]162 trait in late November of that year,” said Martin.  “The corn price had already dropped and leveled off before the first load of corn was rejected by the Chinese; it apparently had little to no relation to the issue surrounding the Viptera trait,”

Syngenta has a website called VipteraChinaFacts,com that Martin says contains information compiled from third party sites regarding the trait.  Martin Phipps’s law firm has a website representing the point of view of the plaintiffs in the suit.

AUDIO: Duane Martin — Syngenta (10 min. MP3)


AUDIO: Martin Phipps — plaintiff attorney (12 min. MP3)

 

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A quiet close to the week in the dairy markets on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Friday.  Cash cheese and butter unchanged, nonfat dry milk increased a quarter-cent.  Class III futures were narrowly mixed.

For the week, cash cheese barrels slipped a half-cent, blocks gained 3.5 cents, butter increased 2.25 cents and nonfat dry milk picked-up a half cent.  Class III futures for May gained 61 cents, June increased 97 cents and October added a dime.

Milk production is strong across the country and a lot of that milk is going into cheese.  Dairy Market News says many cheese plants in all regions are operating at full production to take advantage of the strong milk supplies.  Demand is strong although some of the cheese is going into storage for use later in the year.  Barrel inventories are tight so some plants have altered production to take advantage of the inverted barrel-to-block price.

Organic milk supplies continue to be tight, organic cream is moving into Wisconsin from other parts of the country to cover organic dairy product production.  The weighted advertised price for a half-gallon of organic milk is $3.75 for the week, down a nickel from the previous week but 50 cents above a year ago.  A half-gallon of conventional milk cost $1.87 down 26 cents from the previous week putting the organic-to-conventional spread at $1.88 up 21 cents from the previous week.

The final 2014 mailbox price for milk in the Federal orders comes in at $24.04 per hundredweight, $3.98 above the 2013 price.  Florida had the highest price at $27.07 while New Mexico had the lowest: $21.50.  Compared to 2013; Southern Missouri had the largest increase last year, $4.63 per hundredweight while New Mexico and Indiana had the smallest increase: $3.57.

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The number one priority for Minnesota Farm Bureau going into the 2015 legislative session was agricultural property tax relief.

Farm Bureau Policy Director Doug Busselman tells Brownfield most farmers in the state pay ten times the amount of property taxes for school buildings than non-farm Minnesotans.  Farm Bureau was looking to have that equalized with everybody paying for their house, their garage; the land on which those buildings sit, according to Busselman.

That particular piece of legislation did not garner the type of support Farm Bureau was hoping for, “There were concerns over how much that type of a shift would bring about on homeowners and communities,” Busselman said.  “And what kind of effect it would have on local schools.”

He says there is still some hope for ag property tax relief this session, “Where perhaps as much as half of their property taxes that are connected with school debt bonds will possibly be paid by state funds.”

This approach gives targeted relief to those who need it now, according to Busselman, but other alternatives may need to be looked at down the road.

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A Minden, Iowa woman and a Franklin, Indiana woman are among the five regional winners in Monsanto’s search for Farm Mom of the Year.

“I actually grew up in town, so when I met and married a farmer from Iowa I had a lot of learning to do,” said Sara Ross, Minden, Iowa, who is now balancing farm work, a career off the farm in her family’s insurance business, as well as raising the seventh generation to farm her and her husband’s ground in southwestern Iowa.

Ross is one of five regional winners in Monsanto’s 2015 America’s Farmers “Mom of the Year” contest.  She and the other four were announced on Friday to begin the next round of voting to see who will be the overall winner.

“A big thing I like to do is speak out about agriculture, and I’ve been involved in the Common Ground program over the last five years, so I get to do a lot of traveling and talking about our family farm and what it’s like, and why we make the decisions we do,” said Ross.  “I’ve done that statewide, nationally and also internationally.”

Ross’s upbringing was with parents who went to work at a certain time and came home at a certain time.  Her adjustment eight years ago to farm life was a big one.

“Farming is around the clock,” said Ross.  “That was definitely an eye opener, but I have grown to love this way of life and being able to raise our children on the farm, I’m very happy that we’re able to do that.”

Voting is now underway online for one of the women to be named “National Farm Mom of the Year.”

“Every year we receive such heartfelt nominations about people’s favorite Farm Mom,” says Tracy Mueller, corporate brand manager for Monsanto. “But this year, we’ve especially been overwhelmed by the number and quality of the entries we received. These women have different backgrounds and ways they contribute, but one thing was always clear – their strength, perseverance and dedication to their families, farms, communities and the industry they love.”

The five finalists met each other for the first time on Thursday morning and Sara Ross was quick to discover the common thread binding the five: “Our passion for agriculture,” she said.  “We all come from different farming backgrounds, but we’re all very passionate about agriculture and telling our stories.”

The 2015 regional winners of the America’s Farm Mom of the Year contest include, Northwest Region: Shelly Davis or Albany, Ore.; Southwest Region: Shelley Heinrich of Lubbock, Texas; Midwest Region: Sara Ross of Minden, Iowa; Northeast Region: Amy Kelsay of Franklin, Ind.; and Southeast Region: Megan Seibel of Roanoke, Va.

Each regional winner will receive a $5,000 award. Their biographical information and original nomination is currently posted online at AmericasFarmers.com, where visitors can click to vote for their favorite farm mom based on the judging criteria provided in the contest rules. The woman who receives the most votes between April 24 and May 5 will be named the “National Farm Mom of the Year” — just in time for Mother’s Day. As a bonus, she will also receive an additional $5,000 prize.

AUDIO: Sara Ross (8 min. MP3)

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The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing this week on expanding agricultural trade with Cuba.  Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow says the committee wants to improve agricultural trade opportunities.

Stabenow says there is potential for billions of dollars in trade.  She says Cuba can benefit from U.S. commodities and agricultural equipment just 91 miles from their coast.  “Most of their farms are organized as co-ops and they don’t even have one tractor for each co-op, so they need all kinds of inputs, equipment, a variety of things.”

On her recent visit to Cuba, Stabenow says she saw the potential Michigan agriculture has to expand exports.  “They are very interested in our beans, and fruits and vegetables, and potatoes, and pork and all kinds of things.”

Stabenow says Cuba also needs to open up trade on its end as well, once the embargo is lifted.

AUDIO: Interview with Senator Stabenow (4:17 mp3):

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Futures Markets copy

Soybeans were lower on fund and speculative selling. Harvest weather for South America looks good, with another higher production guess for Argentina out Friday. Argentina’s Ag Ministry now sees 2015 production at 59 million tons, 1 million more than the previous projection. Also, a renewed truck strike in Brazil hasn’t had much of an impact. Still, the continued strong commercial demand for U.S. beans limited losses. Soybean meal and oil were lower.

Corn was lower on fund and technical selling. There’s been more rain around the region, further delaying planting in some key growing areas. However, some areas should make good progress and there are demand concerns due to avian influenza. Longer term forecasts for the Eastern Midwest are more conducive for planting activity. Ethanol futures were lower. Friday, unknown destinations bought 121,400 tons of 2014/15 U.S. corn.

The wheat complex was lower on fund and technical selling. There’s more rain in the forecast for Oklahoma and Texas, helping to recharge soil moisture around the Southern Plains. Past that – world crop conditions generally look good, with no real bullish motivation tied to issues in the Eastern Midwest, Northwestern Plains or India. Japan is tendering for 120,000 tons of feed wheat and Iraq is in the market for 50,000 tons of wheat.

 

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Planting corn in Wisconsin

With a forecast for sunshine and highs in the 60’s and 70’s, Wisconsin farmers are ready to roll in the fields next week.  Mike Weiss is a Technical Agronomist with Asgrow/Dekalb, he says some corn was planted in northwest Wisconsin a couple of weeks ago but most farmers are just getting things ready, spreading manure, tillage, putting anhydrous down.  Soil temperatures are low thanks to nighttime temperatures in the 20’s but Weiss says cool and dry soils do not really worry him.  It is wetter in the Mosinee-Marshfield area and also down towards Chilton to Sheboygan so those farmers may have to wait another week.  The rest of the state is actually pretty dry.

There have been some black cutworm moths caught in southwestern Wisconsin, nothing serious but it does bear watching.  Weiss says they get pushed up from Texas and in a wet spring, there are plenty of winter weeds still standing in the unworked fields. The females like to lay their eggs in those weeds and then the young larvae feed on the young corn.  He says if the fields get planted in the next week-or-two, the problem should be minimal.

Weiss thinks corn acreage will be about the same or maybe a little less than last year in Wisconsin, there will be more soybeans at the expense of wheat.

As for the alfalfa crop, Weiss says initial reports have the crop in great shape across the state.  But lately he has been getting calls from growers in central Wisconsin and in the Chilton area where the crop has been heaving out.  On the lighter soils he has seen quite a bit of mortality.  He thinks we are going to see a little more alfalfa being planted this year.

Above all else, Weiss encourages farmers to be careful out there.

Listen to Weiss’ comments here:

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Black Cutworm Larva

Midwest growers are encouraged to be vigilant for early signs of black cutworm damage when corn seedlings emerge.

University of Illinois entomologist Mike Gray says captures of the species have been common in Illinois and other Midwestern states, including many areas of Indiana.

While the flights of the black cutworm moths have included fewer than nine caught in two days, he says there is cause for concern.

Gray says the moths are migratory insects that fly north from the Gulf States into the Midwest from March through May. They are attracted to fields “heavily infested with weeds such as chickweed, peppergrass, shepherd’s purse and yellow rocket.”  Also, late tillage and planting tends to increase the likelihood of infestations.

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The House Ways and Means Committee has passed the Trade Promotion Authority bill.  The bill provides for trade agreements to be considered by Congress with an up or down vote, but without amendments.  It’s thought that extending TPA to President Obama may ease the way for the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal now being negotiated.

The Senate Finance Committee passed the measure Wednesday.

Many – but not all – agriculture and commodity organizations favor extending Trade Promotion Authority to President Obama.

The American Soybean Association says TPA is legislation that both the Senate and the House should take up and pass as quickly as possible.

On the other hand, the National Farmers Union urges Congress to reject TPA.  NFU President Roger Johnson says the legislation does not address the United States’ massive trade deficit or currency manipulation.

Johnson says American agriculture fairs relatively well in trade, but the agriculture trade surplus is overshadowed by a massive overall trade deficit that represents a roughly three percent drag on the U.S. Gross Domestic Product.

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A light to moderate cattle trade was evident in parts of the North on Friday afternoon with dressed sales in a fairly wide range from 253.00 to 260.00. The top end of the spending would be 2.00 to 7.00 higher than Wednesday and generally steady with last week. The weekly kill was estimated 544,000 head, 11,000 greater than last week, but 46,000 less than last year.

Boxed beef cutout values were sharply lower on light demand and moderate offerings. Choice beef was down 3.02 at 256.99, and select was 3.42 lower at 247.62.

March placements in the cattle on feed report were 100% of a year ago, early estimates were at 95.9%. Marketing’s in March at 98% of 2014 the same as pre-report estimates. Total cattle on feed at 100% of a year ago versus the estimate by private analysts of 99%. The report turned out to be slightly negative.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 125 to 217 points higher. Live issues opened lower, but it didn’t take long before bulls reassembled to fund another round of triple digit gains. Support came from short-covering and technical buying. April settled 1.87 higher at 161.17, and June was up 2.17 at 151.20.

Feeder cattle ended the session 57 to 3.00 points higher. The spot April contract lagged behind the cash index, the balance of the feeder pit once again exploded higher. The bullishness in the live pit was obviously supportive, but so was the corn market’s lackluster tone as well as decent spring rains over major grazing areas. April settled .57 higher at 214.85, and May was up 2.82 at 214.07.

Feeder cattle receipts at Missouri auctions totaled 27,052 head this week. Compared to the previous week, the bulk of the feeder offering sold 5.00 to 10.00 lower. The supply was moderate with lots of new crop fleshy calves in the offering. Many reporters continue to note that the overall quality of cattle is decreasing about as fast as the amount of grass grazing is increasing. Feeder steers, medium and large 1 averaging 568 pounds traded at 262.79 per hundredweight. 572 pound heifers averaged 228.24.

Lean hogs settled 2 to 112 points higher with most contracts holding moderate gains. Renewed enthusiasm in the cattle complex represented a positive factor. May was up .02 at 71.95and June was 1.12 higher at 79.45.

Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed .97 higher at 64.74 weighted average on a carcass basis, the West was up .77 at 64.59, and the East was not reported due to confidentiality. Missouri direct base carcass meat price was 2.00 lower to 1.00 higher from 48.00 to 59.00. Midwest hogs on a live basis were not well tested with only Peoria showing hogs steady from 39.00 to 41.00.

The pork carcass cutout value was up .27 at 69.94 FOB plant.

Net pork export sales last week were impressive, up 40 percent from the previous week and 10 percent from the prior four week average.

The weekly hog kill was estimated at 2,184,000 head, 59,000 less than last week, but 193,000 more than last year.

 

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Futures Markets copy
May corn closed at $3.64 and 1/2, down 6 and 1/4 cents
May soybeans closed at $9.69 and 3/4, down 8 and 1/2 cents
May soybean meal closed at $314.60, down $2.00
May soybean oil closed at 31.67, down 35 points
May wheat closed at $4.86, down 11 and 3/4 cents
Apr. live cattle closed at $161.17, up $1.87
Jun. lean hogs closed at $79.45, up $1.12
Jun. crude oil closed at $57.15, down 59 cents
May cotton closed at 66.50, up 191 points
May rice closed at $9.98, down 8 cents
May Class III milk closed at $16.60, down 11 cents
Apr. gold closed at $1,175.20, down $19.20
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 18,080.14, up 21.45 points

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Programs ICON

The latest round of USDA cattle on feed numbers have modest increases in a couple of the major categories. Before the report, most analysts were expecting year to year declines, so the numbers do indicate at least some herd expansion. According to DTN, on average, analysts were expecting the total number of cattle on feed to be down 1%, placements were expected to be 4.5% lower and marketings were expected to be down 2%.

On of April 1st, the total number of cattle on feed in the U.S. was 10.797 million head, slightly larger than last year. 7.46 million head were steers and steer calves, 5% more than a year ago, and 3.34 million head were heifers and heifer calves, a 10% decrease on the year.

Placements into feedlots during March were 1.809 million head, a little bit more than last year. Most of the placements were heavier weight cattle. By weight, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 365,000 head and 600 to 699 pound placements were 275,000 head, while 700 to 799 pound placements were 449,000 head and placements of cattle weighing more than 800 pounds were 720,000 head.

Marketings were pegged at 1.631 million head, down 2% on the year and in-line with most pre-report estimates. This is the lowest marketing total for March since the series of reports started in 1996.

Other disappearances were 69,000 head, 6% more than in March 2014.

The numbers look at least slightly negative for Chicago Mercantile Exchange cattle futures.

 

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FFA new emblem

The Michigan FFA Ag Skills contest today reports the highest level of member participation ever recorded. Dr. Randy Showerman, Michigan FFA Association State Advisor says they have over 717 teams competing in 23 FFA Ag Skills Contest, and more than 500 students than last year.

“The major increase I believe is because to the direct linkage to the classroom, but also the linkage to the industry because we are doing a much better job of identifying the students interests in careers and then linking them into content that are related to their future aspirations within the agricultural industry.”

Over 3,000 FFA students are expected to compete this year. Showerman says the contest would not be possible without the help of hundreds of community volunteers preparing students at the chapter level, and within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University where the event is hosted.

Showerman says the FFA Skills Contest evaluates student knowledge and skillsets in a variety of areas. He says participants can also earn a student certificate for employment, including with the Michigan Floral Association and new this year the Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association.

AUDIO: Interview with Dr. Randy Showerman (3:56 pm3):

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Aerial applicatorAg aviators, pilots applying crop protection products, have concerns when it comes to sharing air space with drones. 

Andrew Moore, Executive Director of the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) says aerial applicators need to know what’s in the area they’re working and that proposed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations for drones don’t address ag aviator’s concerns. 

“Things like strobe lights on these UAV’s, or some sort of tracking system where in the UAV was equipped with it and we’re equipped with that technology as well, we would know its location,” Moore said. “These are two things right now that the FAA is not requiring for UAV’s which makes them a concern to us.” 

Moore says his organization would also like FAA regulations requiring drone operators to have a private pilot’s license. 

“And you have to have and show knowledge and skill that you can operate them,” said Moore. “These are things that the FAA’s proposal that’s not required.” 

It’s estimated that aerial applicators apply around 19 percent of crop protection products to commercial cropland.

Audio: Andrew Moore, Executive Director, National Agricultural Aviators Association

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Why are some “consumer protection” groups deaf, dumb and blind to the opinions of the folks they purport to protect?  In the case of those seeking labeling of foods containing genetically modified (GM) ingredients, this triple affliction seems particularly severe and chronic, complicated by paranoia, petulance and an apparent compulsion to speak out of both sides of their organizational mouths.

When it comes to GM labeling, the people have spoken – labeling is a solution in search of a probelm.  Of the states which had state-wide ballot initiatives on GM food labeling over the last four years, all failed.  That means, my activist brethren, the majority of consumers in your state or the state you targeted as an activist carpetbagger didn’t buy what you were selling.  This is due in large part because the science of GM ingredients and foods showed safety to man and animal.

The defeated activists are going after the messengers of the scientific evidence that undid those political campaigns.  The former leaders of the failed California GM labeling assault have formed a new group:  U.S. Right to Know (USRTK www.usrtk.org/).   USTRK now attacks by implication the integrity of individual scientists who don’t agree with it.   Not content to raise donations on the obvious “Big Food” conspiracy threat, USTRK seeks the alleged co-conspirators whose work is the evidence demonstrating USTRK is wrong.

Earlier this year more than a dozen scientists at four land grant universities whose work repudiates USTRK’s philosophy and politics, and/or who actively opposed California’s failed 2012 GM label ballot initiative and/or who may been quoted on the Council for Biotechnology Information www.gmoanswers.com website, saw their institutions hit with public records requests under individual state disclosure laws. These requests demand the scientists turn over all emails and correspondence relating to their biotech work, including correspondence with biotech companies, their trade associations and public relations firms.

Here’s the USTRK philosophy, as stated on its website:  “Our food system is not safe.  America’s epidemic of food-related diseases…is the logical result of a food system that maximizes profits, not health or happiness. To cover their tracks, Big Food hides the truth about what they sell. They don’t want us to know what’s in our food, or how it affects our health. Our food system is corrupt because our government is corrupted, captured and crippled by the Big Food lobby.”  The site asks visitors: “Know any food-related scandals?  We love to hear about foods scandals and corruption.”

At best, such strategies are designed to intimidate and muzzle scientist who don’t agree with USTRK.  Implicit in the records request is a seed of suspicion these scientists may be in the pocket of big biotech, that research results might have been manipulated, that opinions may have been at least rented, if not purchased.  Publicity surrounding the records requests tarnishes a reputation, particularly among those who adhere to the “where’s there’s smoke…” philosophy.

Yet, USTRK last month sent letters to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees and the USDA Inspector General demanding a taxpayer-paid-for investigation of a possible “cover up for Monsanto, and whether USDA scientists are being harassed when their work runs counter to the interests of the agrichemical industry…These scientists work for the public, not Monsanto or the agrichemical industries.  It is crucial to the public interest that they do their work without industry harassment or obstruction.  The integrity of the USDA is at stake.”

That’s a blade that cuts both ways.  Land grant universities are publicly funded, and by extension their scientists deserve the same respect and protection from activists with a political axe to grind.  The folks in white lab coats who conduct cutting edge research must feel free to report their findings and comment on how that work may inform a public policy debate without fear of assault on their reputations or their livelihoods.

Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam, animal genomics and biotechnology specialist at the University of California-Davis, is one of the USRTK targets. She’s also winner of the 2014 Council on Agriculture Science & Technology (CAST) Borlaug communication award.  Van Eenennaam told a Washington, DC, audience recently, “The question facing researchers is whether the potential for such public records requests…would inhibit them from commenting candidly (in public policy debates).”

If scientists are not free to do research without fear of activist harassment or personal attacks the entire scientific process is at risk.

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USDA Food KeeperHow long can you safely keep food?  There’s an APP for that. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has developed the application for use in giving us guidelines to help decide whether it’s time to throw something out or keep it.  The app is free and is called FOOD KEEPER. The app is available for Android and Apple devices.

HEALTHY LIVING PROGRAM – Food Keeper App (1:30 mp3):

 

 

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The cattle trade is slow to get off the ground on Friday, following light trade on Wednesday and Thursday. The best early guesses are that about 6,000 head moved in Nebraska yesterday at 252.00 to 253.00 dressed, and live sales at 160.00 with a few late deals at 160.50. Only a light trade was reported in the South. We may not see additional trade until after the release of the cattle on feed report this afternoon. Asking prices of cattle left on the showlists are around 160.00 in the South and 256.00 plus in the North.

Boxed beef cutout values are lower with the choice down 1.23 at 258.78, and select is 1.76 lower at 249.28.

Feeder cattle receipts at Missouri auctions totaled 27,052 head this week. Compared to the previous week, the bulk of the feeder offering sold 5.00 to 10.00 lower. The supply was moderate with lots of new crop fleshy calves in the offering. Many reporters continue to note that the overall quality of cattle is decreasing about as fast as the amount of grass grazing is increasing. Feeder steers, medium and large 1 averaging 568 pounds traded at 262.79 per hundredweight. 572 pound heifers averaged 228.24.

Barrows and gilts in all of the major direct trade areas are not reported due to confidentiality. In the Iowa/Minnesota report yesterday the market was .89 higher at 63.88 weighted average on a carcass basis, the West closed .88 higher at 63.85. Missouri direct base carcass meat price today is 2.00 lower to 1.00 higher from 48.00 to 59.00. In the live markets only Peoria is operating today at steady prices from 39.00 to 41.00.

The pork carcass cutout value is down .29 FOB plant at 69.38.

Net pork export sales last week were impressive, up 40 percent from the previous week and 10 percent from the prior four week average.

The pork carcass value staged a significant jump on Thursday, jacked by higher quotes on all primals except the belly.

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