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NLPA News Brief
July 10, 2019
Livestock and Ag Credit News

US–China Trade Talks Resume

The Business Times, 07/10/19
—US officials held a phone call on Tuesday with their Chinese counterparts to discuss the ongoing trade conflict between the countries, US officials said.

It was the first official contact since President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed to resume talks just over a week ago. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer "spoke with Vice Premier Liu He and Minister Zhong Shan today to continue negotiations aimed at resolving the outstanding trade disputes between the United States and China," the official said in a statement. "Both sides will continue these talks as appropriate."

After talks nearly collapsed in May, Mr Trump and Mr Xi met on June 29 on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Japan and agreed to resume negotiations toward ending their year–long trade war and to refrain from imposing any new tariffs.

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Livestock and Ag Credit News

Rising Crop Prices, USDA Payments Lift Farmers' Spirits

CME Group via Cision PR Wire, 07/02/19—Agricultural producer sentiment rebounded in June as farmers expressed a more optimistic outlook on the future of the agricultural economy. The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer, based on a mid–month survey of 400 agricultural producers across the U.S., increased to a reading of 126 in June, up 25 points from May.

Results also showed increases in both of the barometer's sub–indices. While the Index of Current Conditions saw just a modest increase of 13 points from May to a reading of 97, the Index of Future Expectations jumped 33 points to a reading of 141 in June.

"This year, farmers have faced an extremely wet planting season and uncertainty surrounding trade discussions," said James Mintert, the barometer's principal investigator and director of Purdue's Center for Commercial Agriculture. However, he said a crop price rally, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture announcing the 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) and Congress passing a disaster aid bill, "made farmers more optimistic. While this combination provided a boost to a struggling ag economy, it remains a challenging economic environment for farmers."

OIE Calls Bovine TB Eradication a 'One Health' Issue

By Tim Lundeen, Feedstuffs, 07/02/19—From statistics published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and declarations made to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), "it is painfully obvious that bovine tuberculosis (TB) is still a major disease and a cause of concern for a great many countries, as it represents a socioeconomic burden that is costly in terms of human lives and resources.

This public health and animal health challenge merits special attention through the prism of a One Health approach," OIE director general Dr. Monique Eloit said in an editorial prepared for OIE's "Panorama" bulletin.

"No, bovine tuberculosis is not a disease of the past, including in developed countries. Yes, we must continue to devote the necessary resources to control or even eradicate it," Eloit said.

There is an urgent need to replace the current international standard bovine tuberculin and establish a reference standard for the development of "second–generation" diagnostic tests, Eloit said, noting that is why OIE supports the international collaboration established with the aim of developing and validating a replacement international standard bovine tuberculin.

One Health:Solving the Global Challenge of Antibiotic Stewardship

NIAA News Release, 07/09/19
—Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) works to bring worldwide beef community together on sustainable antibiotics standards.

U.S. ranchers have spent decades investing in ways to provide safe, affordable beef that meets consumer demands. Their efforts include antibiotic stewardship and sustainability standards, and they're not alone.

Beef producers across the world work to raise cattle in differing environments.

"When it comes to sustainability, there's no one size fits all," says Ruaraidh Petre, executive director of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB). "There are lots of different beef production systems around the world and lots of environments. You can produce beef on the edge of the Sahara Desert, and you can produce it on the edge of the Arctic circle."

The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef is comprised of people from 25 countries and from all parts of the beef value chain, from producers to retailers.

"Antimicrobial resistance and the stewardship of antimicrobials is an important part of sustainability because antimicrobials are essential to good animal health. They are going to remain part of the beef industry, and we need to keep them effective," Petre says.

Advanced systems to ensure antibiotics stewardship exist in the U.S. and Europe, but lag or are non–existent in many developing countries. This contributes to resistance problems.

That's why the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef released an antibiotics stewardship statement last fall suggesting that producers in such countries adopt a health plan, veterinary relationships and preventive measures where feasible. That way, antibiotics remain effective when they're needed.

"On the issue of antimicrobials, the consumer is told that it is possible and desirable to produce cattle without using antimicrobials," Petre says. "We would argue strongly that that is not the case. It will make the production much more expensive and it will also mean that we can produce far less beef while still using the same amount of resources, and that is, in my mind, unsustainable." Watch 2:50 video interview with GRSB Executive Director Ruaraidh Petre HERE.

Phibro Animal Health Pursues Patent for African Swine Fever Vaccine

National Hog Farmer, 07/09/19—Following a significant advance in the development of a vaccine for African swine fever, Phibro Animal Health Corporation says its pursing patent protection. The company announced that its vaccine development process now involves the identification of immunogenic epitopes and proteins that show strong potential to form the basis for a vaccine against ASF. Phibro's approach is to create a specific epitope–based vaccine, rather than following the more conventional path of an attenuated live vaccine. If successful, this approach would not only be an effective response to ASF but would result in a vaccine that presents no risk of further spreading the disease.

"ASF's decimation of China's swine population represents not just a crisis for the entire swine husbandry industry but, more importantly, a food security crisis for mankind," says Jack Bendheim, Phibro's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "The identification of this group of peptides and proteins is a key milestone in Phibro's pursuit of a solution for this devastating disease. While we still have much work ahead of us, we have made important progress toward reaching that goal and we take pride in potentially being part of the solution to such an urgent problem."

Global Livestock News

Collaboration Key to Meeting Consumers' Animal Welfare Expectations

Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health News Release, 06/20/19—Collaboration between veterinarians and producers is crucial in order to meet public demands of high animal welfare, according to international experts at recent Boehringer Ingelheim's Expert Forum on Farm Animal Well–Being. More than 100 delegates from 17 countries recently gathered in Prague, Czech Republic, for the 12th edition of the conference.

This year's event asked the question: Do consumers and citizens want the same thing? The difference between the two was highlighted by Laura Higham of FAI Farms, who spoke of the "citizen shift" in which individuals who wish to have a greater influence over society – including animal health and welfare – are utilizing spending power to drive ethical food supply chains.

Despite this proven citizen shift, the willingness to pay for higher welfare is a still a massive issue facing the industry, as Dr. Lynn Fewer of Newcastle University noted, adding, "Concerns associated with farm animal welfare and production may not correspond to purchase and consumption practices, with sales of welfare–friendly products much lower than the reported levels of concern. This suggests a discrepancy between an individual's role as a citizen and as a consumer such that citizens and consumers have different concerns in different contexts."

Manmade 'Superfly' Could Help Feed World's Livestock

By Sandra Dick, The Herald, 07/7/19—THEY have voracious appetites and are perhaps the least enticing of morsels.

But in a laboratory near Edinburgh, squirming supersize dark brown maggots and cages crammed with tens of thousands of their winged big brothers and sisters are offering a tantalising glimpse into the future of farming.

Using selective breeding technology and biotechniques, agriculture food start–up Beta Bug is creating a new strain of manmade 'superfly' designed to help solve some of the problems of feeding the world's livestock.

Eventually, the Beta Bugs 'beefed up' black soldier flies and other bugs could provide an efficient protein replacement for soy in farm feed, as well as offering individual laboratory–tailored insects for specific animal and fish needs.

Global Livestock News

FDA Counters Concerns Over Gene–Editing Regulation

By Carol Ryan Dumas, Capital Press, 07/02/19&38212;The Food and Drug Administration has responded to concerns about how it would regulate gene editing in animals.

Last week, the FDA's plan was roundly criticized by the National Pork Producers Council.

The NPPC is focused on the importance of gene editing in animal agriculture and how FDA oversight would hamper progress of the technology and put U.S. livestock producers at a competitive disadvantage globally. NPPC says the technology holds enormous promise in addressing many of the issues facing animal agriculture, such as the need for disease–resistance pigs, but contends FDA's approval process would be impractical, lengthy and expensive.

The organization wants regulatory oversight transferred to USDA, which oversees genetic changes in plants along with FDA and EPA.

But Anna Abram, FDA deputy commissioner for policy, legislation and internal affairs, said FDA's science– and risk–based approach is flexible. "FDA does not intend to enforce investigational and approval requirements for IGAs in animals that pose minimal risk," she said. FDA does not regulate animals as a drug but instead evaluates IGAs based on the risk they pose to the animal and human health, she said.

"We acknowledge that the nomenclature hasn't been optimal to capture the spirit of what we're doing and how we are regulating these products," said Dr. Steven Solomon, director of FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine.

FDA does have statutory authority to regulate these IGAs. However, it has the option to exercise enforcement discretion and not enforce approval requirements for products that pose minimal risk — and already has for several products, he said.

USDA to Tackle Corporate Concentration in Livestock Sector

NSAC'S Blog, 07/02/19—Fulfilling their obligation to the court, USDA is now promulgating a proposed rule for comment focused on one specific provision (undue preference) of the 2010 rule making. Section 202(b) of the P&SA specifically prohibits meatpackers from giving an undue preference or advantage to any person or subjecting any person to undue or unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage.

Undue preference or advantage can exist when growers who produce the same or similar poultry or livestock receive different treatment by the company – like providing better feed, chicks, and contract terms to certain growers over others. Undue preference can also include retaliation to growers that speak out against company abuse, providing a preference to those growers who don't speak out. It also encompasses pricing issues, such as unfair volume discounts and premiums that stack the deck against smaller operations.

The upcoming proposed rule will provide criteria for the Secretary of Agriculture to use when determining if there has been a violation of Section 202(b) of the P&SA. The proposed rule is set to be published in late summer and will have a 60–day comment period for the public to weigh in.

NLPA News Brief

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Prepared by Polly Welden

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