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NCBA eager to discuss fake meat at FDA public meeting

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is gearing up for a public dialogue on fake meat products next month after the FDA announced it will be holding a meeting to address cultured meat technology.

“NCBA looks forward to participating fully in the public meeting, and will use the opportunity to advocate for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversight of lab-grown fake meat products. The Food and Drug Administration’s announcement disregards the authorities granted to USDA under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, as well as USDA’s significant scientific expertise and long-standing success in ensuring the safety of all meat and poultry products,” said NCBA Director of Government Affairs Danielle Beck. “Under the current regulatory framework, FDA plays an important role in terms of ensuring the safety of food additives used in meat, poultry, and egg products. All additives are initially evaluated for safety by FDA, but ultimately FSIS maintains primary jurisdiction.”

While the primary focus of the July 12 meeting is food safety, the FDA encourages stakeholders to share their information and data, and wants to have a dialogue around other areas of interest related to foods produced through animal cell culture technology, such as labeling. The intent is to engage in a public discussion on this evolving technology to ensure the FDA understands and considers all aspects to determine the best approach to these novel products.

The public meeting is not a formal decision and will not prevent USDA from asserting primary jurisdiction. USDA oversight of lab-grown protein products is consistent with existing federal laws. Lab-grown protein products fall within statutory definitions of a meat byproduct. USDA is responsible for ensuring the safety and proper labeling of all such products under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA).

Tags: Food Safety, Lab-grown meat, Livestock News

China’s retaliatory tariff is no longer theoretical

After the Trump Administration announced it is moving forward with $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese products, the Sleeping Giant snapped back with a 25 percent retaliatory tariff on multiple U.S. goods. The retaliatory tariff includes soybeans, cotton, sorghum, wheat, vegetables, beef, pork, and more and will go into effect on July 6.

The American Soybean Association is disappointed in the Administration’s decision, which follows weeks of imploring the President and his team to find non-tariff solutions to address Chinese intellectual property theft and not place American farmers in harm’s way. ASA has twice requested a meeting with President Trump to discuss how increasing soy exports to China can be a part of the solution to the U.S. trade deficit without resorting to devastating tariffs.

A study by Purdue University economists predicts that soybean exports to China could drop by as much as 65 percent if China imposes a retaliatory 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans.

Davie Stephens, Kentucky soybean grower and Vice President of ASA, is among growers distraught over the newly-announced tariffs, and China’s possible retaliation.

“Crop prices have dropped 40 percent in the last five years, and farm income is down 50 percent compared to 2013. As a soy grower, I depend on trade with China. China imports roughly 60 percent of total U.S. soybean exports, representing nearly 1 in 3 rows of harvested soybeans,” Stephens said. “This is a vital and robust market that soy growers have spent over 40 years building and, frankly, it’s not a market U.S. soybean farmers can afford to lose.”

ASA is among grower and industry groups whose members have been imploring Congress to urge the Administration to back away from tariffs and return to the negotiating table with China. Under the hashtag #TradeNotTariffs, members of these organizations have continued to amp up awareness on social media, sharing with the public how trade tariffs could devastate their livelihoods.

The tariff announcement comes a month after China terminated anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations into U.S. sorghum, which ended the 178.6 percent duty. The newly enforced 25 percent tariff will bring higher prices for Chinese consumers who purchase over half of U.S. sorghum exports.

“National Sorghum Producers, alongside our producers, stakeholders, and partners, have already seen the market uncertainty and price fluctuations that occur when China retaliates on U.S. goods. We urge President Trump and the Administration to move forward with constructive trade negotiations that will end tariffs on U.S. agriculture, especially during times of existing economic stress,” National Sorghum Producers Chairman and Nebraska farmer Don Bloss. “We understand the grave impact tariff decisions can inflict on producers. American farmers depend on trade with China, and these tariffs will have devastating effects on U.S. agriculture. We greatly value our business relationship with Chinese buyers and hope to see this win-win relationship move forward. We have witnessed the Administration’s efforts in positive trade negations in the past that lifted sanctions on U.S. sorghum and hope to see similar efforts going forward.”

“For American farmers this isn’t theoretical anymore, it’s downright scary. It’s no longer a negotiating tactic, it’s a tax on their livelihoods. Within days, soybean, corn, wheat and other American farmers are likely to be hit with retaliatory tariff of up to 25% on exports that keep their operations afloat. When they do, they’re not going to remain silent,” Farmers for Free Trade Executive Director Brian Kuehl said. “The imposition of these tariffs is not only a blow to our farmers, it’s a win for our competitors. When American soybeans and corn become more expensive, South America wins. When beef becomes more expensive, Australia wins. As this trade war drags on, farmers will rightly question why our competitors are winning while we’re losing.”

Tags: Agribusiness, Agriculture News, Exports and Imports

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Syngenta hits the road to commemorate National Pollinator Week

National Pollinator Week runs June 18 to 24, and a team from Syngenta is traveling what’s called the Monarch Highway (most maps, however, simply refer to it as Interstate 35) to help raise awareness of the people who contribute to pollinator health and stewardship. The I-35 corridor, which stretches from Minnesota down to Texas, is recognized as the Monarch Highway because it parallels the central flyway of the monarch migration across the United States.

The approximately 1,700-mile road trip will include stops with pollinator experts at nearly a dozen locations. Their stories, photos, videos, and quotes will be shared via social media, using #OperationPollinator.

“Highlighting the many ways various individuals and organizations are helping pollinators thrive is the primary goal of this road trip,” said Caydee Savinelli, pollinator and IPM stewardship lead, Syngenta. “Pollinator health and stewardship is important to agriculture and Syngenta, and our Operation Pollinator program is making a positive impact. But caring for pollinators is much larger than any one company. Improving pollinator health and practicing good stewardship take the combined effort, support and expertise from multiple stakeholders.”

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