Editorial

Multidrug-Resistant Campylobacter jejuni in the UK

07/12/2019

A research group at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland has conducted molecular biological analyses of Campylobacter jejuni ST 5136 clonal complex 464*. This strain has emerged as the principal pathogen affecting humans in the UK. It is estimated that there are 500,000 cases of camplyobacteriosis annually with 80,000 medical interventions and 200 fatalities in the UK. C. jejuni ST5136 is only isolated from poultry meat and products and is not associated with either pork or beef. Physicians are encountering fluoroquinolone and erythromycin resistance in cases of travelers' diarrhea, non-confirmed gastroenteritis and campylobacteriosis.

The authors demonstrated successive acquisition of genes by ST5136, imparting resistance to specific antibiotic classes. These genes include:

  • Ac3 against aminoglycoside

  • C257T gyrA against fluoroquinolones

  • tet (O/32/O) against tetracycline and low-beta lactam

  • bla OXA-61 against high-beta lactam

During 2016, a total of 337 tons of authorized antimicrobial drugs were sold in the UK representing a 17 percent decrease from the previous year. Notable reductions were observed for tetracycline (30 percent), macrolides (24) and fluoroquinolones (29 percent) in 2015. Currently, enrofloxacin and difloxcin are licensed for poultry use in the UK in contrast to the U.S. where the license for the fluoroquinolone class was withdrawn in 2004. The UK broiler industry is characterized by the presence of antibiotic-resistant Campylobacter on retail poultry. ST5136 was first detected in 2010 both on chicken meat and in fecal samples from patients. In 2012, ST5136 was isolated from turkey meat and the strain has been detected in eighteen processing plants throughout the UK.

Recognition of the problem of emerging antibiotic resistance involving Campylobacter and other foodborne pathogens has led to a decrease in the use of antibiotics with a 71 percent reduction in the UK between 2012 and 2016. In 1991 the Netherlands reported an increase in fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter and correlated the prevalence in poultry to an increase in human infection. Cephalosporins were eliminated from poultry production in 2012 but prophylactic administration of antibiotics to day-old chicks only ceased in 2016.

The authors concluded that aggressive action to restrict or eliminate antibiotics in livestock production may prevent the emergence of future multidrug resistant pathogens although existing strains including ST5136 may retain their activity for an extended period.

The authors quoted Nobel Prize winner Dr. Joshua Lederberg who opined in an article in Science, "The future of humanity and microbes likely will unfold as episodes of Our Wits Versus Their Genes."

Citing the authors, "The evolution and rise of ST5136 indicates that bacteria can evolve by genetic adaptation to antibiotic-enriched and antibiotic-deprived environments. This drives the evolution of environment-favored strains by mutation or gene transfer. It is up to us to use our wits to keep up with these changes."

The U.S poultry industry has made remarkable progress in eliminating routine use of antibiotics with close to half of broilers raised according to either antibiotic-free and no-antibiotics-ever (NAE) programs.

*Lopes, B.S. et al Nationwide Stepwise Emergence and Evolution of Multidrug-Resistant Campylobacter jejuni Sequence Type 5136, United Kingdom. Emerging Infectious Diseases 25: 1320-1329 (2019)

 



 

Poultry Industry News

U.S. Broiler and Turkey Exports for January-May 2019.

07/06/2019

Export data for the first five months of 2019 indicate a moderate increase in export of broiler parts in comparison to the corresponding period in 2018. The overwhelming impression from this and previous comparisons is the consistent erosion in unit price. This is attributed to the fact that leg quarters comprise over 95 percent of exports. This product represents a low-value commodity lacking in pricing power. Exporters of commodities are subjected to competition from domestic production in importing nations. Leg quarters are vulnerable to trade disputes and embargos based on real or contrived disease restrictions.

Total broiler exports for the period attained 1,309,989 metric tons, 1.6 percent more than the corresponding period in 2018 (1,289,344 metric tons). Total value of exports declined by 6.4 percent to $1,253 million ($1,338 million).

During January-May 2019 the National Chicken Council (NCC), citing USDA-FAS data, documented exports of 1,351,487 metric tons of chicken parts and other forms (whole and prepared) valued at $1,248 million with a weighted average unit value of $923 per metric ton, 9.2 percent lower in value compared to the first five months of 2018 ($1,017 per metric ton).


 

USDA-WASDE FORECAST #590 July 11th 2019

07/11/2019

OVERVIEW

The July 11th 2019 USDA WASDE projections for the 2019 corn and soybean harvests are based on historical yield and harvest data. The corn acreage to be harvested was determined from planting completed at 83.6 million acres (81.8 million in 2018) and is up 1.4 percent from the June WASDE. In 2019 soybeans will be harvested from 79.3 million acres (88.3 million acres in 2018) with the reduction due to uncertainty over the export market.

The USDA projected corn yield to attain 166.0 bushels per acre, (178.9 bushels in 2018) and unchanged from the June WASDE despite late planting and delayed development. Soybean yield was projected at 48.5 bushels per acre (52.1 bushels in 2018), 5 percent lower than in the June WASDE projection. These values presume suitable growing conditions, the time of sowing and standard rates of germination.

The July USDA projection of ending stock for corn was increased by 20.0 percent percent from the June WASDE to 2,010 million bushels. Ending stock for soybeans will be 23.9 percent lower at 795 million bushels. Ending stocks for both corn and soybeans have influenced recent CME price quotations. It is emphasized that projections are based on the presumption of at least a partial settlement of the trade dispute with China followed by restoration of exports to that Nation, a prospect that appears in question given lower demand from China and the failure to commit to purchases following the June meeting between President Trump and Premier Xi at the G-20 Meeting in Osaka.

 


Turkey Week

07/12/2019

Weekly Turkey Production and Prices

Poult Production and Placement:

The July 15th edition of the USDA Turkey Hatchery Report, issued monthly, documented 29.0 million eggs in incubators on July 1st 2018 (27.9 million eggs on June 1st 2019) and up 1.5 percent (0.4 million eggs) from July 1 st 2018.

A total of 22.9 million poults were hatched during June 2019 (23.6 million in May 2019) and a decrease of 1.8 percent from June 2018.

A total of 21.5 million poults were placed on farms in the U.S. in June 2019, (22.0 million in May 2019), and 5.0 percent less than in June 2018. This suggests disposal of 1.4 million poults during the month. Assuming all tom poults were placed, 12.4 percent of hen poults or 6.2 percent of all June-hatched poults in 2019 were not placed.

For the twelve-month period July 2018 through June 2019 inclusive, 288.7 million poults were hatched and 261.4 million were placed. This suggests disposal of 27.4 million poults. Assuming all tom poults were placed 18.8 percent of hen poults or 9.4 percent of all poults hatched during the period were not placed.


 

Broiler Week

07/12/2019

Weekly Broiler Production and Prices

Chick Placements.

The Broiler Hatchery Report released on July 10th confirmed that a total of 232.5 million eggs were set during the week ending July 6th, up one percent compared to the corresponding week in 2018. A total of 179.0 million day-old chicks were placed among the 19 major broiler-producing states during the week ending July 6 th. This was less than one percent higher than the corresponding week in 2018. Total chick placements for the U.S. amounted to 186.6 million. Claimed average hatchability was 82.9 percent for eggs set three weeks earlier. Broiler chick placements for 2019 through July 6 th amounted to 5.03 billion, one percent more than YTD 2018.

Broiler Production

According to the July 12th USDA Broiler Market News Report (Vol. 66: No. 28) for the processing week ending July 6th 2019, 152.5 million broilers were processed during a short week at an average live weight of 6.20 lbs. (6.20 lbs. last week) and a nominal yield of 76.0 percent. The number of broilers processed was 5.5 percent more than the corresponding short processing week in 2018. Processed (RTC) broiler production for the week was 718.2 million lbs. (326,470 metric tons), 9.1 percent more than the corresponding week in 2018. Production YTD of RTC in 2019 is 20.41 million lbs. (9,323,215 metric tons), 1.6 percent more than in 2018 YTD.


 

WEEKLY COMMODITY REPORT

07/12/2019

Prices are Volatile, Trending Up Following China Negotiations, Release of July USDA-WASDE Projections and Acreage Report

The following quotations for July and September 2019, were posted by the CME at close of trading on Friday July 12th compared with values for Friday July 5th (in parentheses) shortly after release of the acreage report.

The market responded with an upward turn following release of the USDA Acreage report on June 28th followed by the July WASDE on July 11th reversing the move down for soybeans the previous week. Corn planted in 2019 is up 3 percent over 2018 to 91.7 million acres, albeit late, due to saturated fields that will reduce yield. Planted soybean acreage is down 10 percent compared to 2018 to 80.0 million acres, the lowest since 2013.

Soybean and soybean meal prices advanced this past week despite any definitive outcome from the bilateral discussions between the Presidents of China and the U.S. on June 29th during the G-20 Meeting in Japan. A token order of 0.5 million metric tons of soybeans was placed by government-affiliated traders in China on June 28th. This quantity should be compared with 21.4 million metric tons delivered to China in 2017 before the advent of the trade dispute.

The commodities market recorded a sharp increase in the futures prices of corn soybeans and soybean meal after the release of the July WASDE on Tuesday 11th. The mid-May run-up in prices was due to slow progress in planting and consequential projection of reduced yields.

The absence of any substantial news regarding resolution of the trade dispute with China and previous conflicting statements by White House spokespersons over the months since the dispute began is disconcerting to the commodities market and

has contributed to price fluctuation.


 

Status of 2019 Corn and Soybean Crops

07/15/2019

The USDA Crop Progress Report released July 15th documented progress in both corn and soybeans after a slow start to planting that is expected to negatively impact yields as denoted by current crop condition. High topsoil moisture levels are evident in comparison with the corresponding week in 2018. CHICK-NEWS and EGG-NEWS will report on the progress of the two major crops as monitored by the USDA through the end of the 2019 harvest in October.

WEEK ENDING

Crop

July 7th

July 14th

5-Year Average

Corn Emerged %

Corn Silking %

100

8

100

17

100

42

       

Soybeans Planted %

Soybeans emerged %

Soybeans Blooming %

96

90

10

100

95

22

100

99

49

       

 

Crop Condition

V. Poor

Poor

Fair

Good

Excellent

Corn 2019

Corn 2018

3

3

9

6

30

19

48

51

10

21

Soybeans 2019

Soybeans 2018

3

2

9

6

34

23

46

53

8

16

 

Parameter

V. Short

Short

Adequate

Surplus

Topsoil moisture: Past Week

4

17

67

12

Past Year

13

25

57

5

Subsoil moisture: Past Week

3

13

72

12

Past Year

11

26

58

5


 

Phibro Animal Health Developing ASF Vaccine

07/09/2019

In a July 9th release, Phibro Animal Health Corporation announced that it is filing for patent protection following a significant advance in the development of a vaccine against African Swine Fever (ASF). This important precursor in the development of a vaccine involved the identification of immunogenic epitopes and proteins showing strong antigenic potential as a vaccine candidate against ASF.

The R&D team of Phibro Animal Health and its collaborators achieved this breakthrough by applying unique bioinformatic analysis to select for epitopes and proteins with the highest potential to elicit a protective immune response.

Phibro intends 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 back-passage reversion to pathogenicity, a significant safety consideration.

Jack Bendheim, Chairman, president and CEO, of Phibro Animal Health commented, “The decimation of the swine population of China represents not just a crisis for the entire pork industry but, more importantly, a food security crisis for humankind. The identification of a group of peptides and proteins is a key milestone in preventing 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 an urgent problem.”


 

Hain Pure Protein Divested

07/09/2019

Aterian Investment Partners has acquired Hain Pure Protein from the Hain Celestial Group in a transaction valued at $80 million. Hain Pure Protein markets specialized poultry brands including Empire Kosher™, Kosher Valley™ and FreeBird™. Empire Kosher was founded in 1938 and is the leading provider of kosher poultry in the U.S.

George Zahringer, principal at Aterian Investment Partners stated “We are enthusiastic about partnering with the team at Empire Kosher and FreeBird”. He added “Throughout the process we have come to appreciate the leading positions that these brands occupy in their respective markets”.


 

Hooters Chain Acquired by Investment Group

07/09/2019

Nord Bay Capital and TriArtisan Capital Advisors have acquired Hooters of America LLC from H.I.G. Capital and other investors. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Terry Marks, CEO of Hooters of America commented “The partnership with Nord Bay and TriArtisan comes at an ideal time for the company. Our core business is strong due to our world-famous and differentiated brand, first-rate management team and a loyal base of experienced franchisees”. Hooters of America operates 430 restaurants in 38 states in the U.S and in 27 other countries.

William Pepper, principal of Nord Bay Capital stated “Hooters is an iconic global brand that has shown strong financial growth and development with nine consecutive quarters of improved same-store sales and 13 consecutive quarters out-performing the casual dining bar and grill category”.


 

Alltech Appoints Chief Scientific Officer

07/09/2019

Following the retirement of Dr. Karl Dawson at the end of June, Dr. Ronan Power was appointed to the position. Dr. Power joined Alltech in 1991 as the Director of Research for Europe and recently served as Vice President of Alltech Life Sciences.

In his new position, Dr. Power will manage 100 researchers worldwide with 20 research alliances in twelve nations and four bioscience centers. These are located in the United States, China, the Netherlands and Ireland.

Dr. Mark Lyons, president and CEO of Alltech stated “Recent acquisitions have broadened our ability to apply solutions to any point along the food supply chain and provide transformative innovation to customers”. He added “With Dr. Power at the helm of our research team, Alltech will advance into the next frontier supporting producers as they overcome today’s challenges and work to a “planet of plenty™”.

Alltech scientific activities are divided among five divisions:

  • Biological sciences
  • Chemistry and toxicology
  • Life sciences
  • Monogastric nutrition
  • Ruminant nutrition

In commenting on the appointment, Dr. Powers stated “Never before has the efficient use of our planet’s resources been more critical”. He added “We will build on the legacy of groundbreaking scientific discovery in the lab and in the field as we work towards a more sustainable future”.

Retiring after 20 years with Alltech, Dr. Dawson was associated with the early formative years of Alltech while he served as a Professor of Nutritional Microbiology and Director of the Nutritional Microbiology Laboratory at the University of Kentucky. He joined Alltech in 1999.  Dr. Mark Lyons praised Dr. Dawson for his pivotal role in establishing and maintaining Alltech’s position at the forefront of scientific discovery”. 

Dr. Dawson commented “It has been incredible to see the progression of nutritional technology over the last 40 years”. He added “I am extremely proud of the changes we have made in how the industry thinks about the impact of nutrition”. Dr. Dawson will continue serving as an advisor to Alltech in his retirement.


 

Astral Foods in South Africa Impacted by Water Shortage

07/09/2019

Astral Brands

In an interview with media, the Managing Director of Astral Foods Commercial Division, Andy Crocker outlined the problems his company has experienced in maintaining production in the Standerton plant supplied with utilities by the Lekwa municipality.

 

Due to a combination of incompetence, inability to plan and general mismanagement the Lekwa Municipality has failed to maintain the water supply to the plant with a nominal throughput of two million broilers per week.  For some time, the supply has been restricted forcing the complex into a single-shift mode.  The company is now trucking water from the Vaal River and operating an on-site filtration and decontamination plant to restore two-shift operation.

 

The intensive broiler industry in South Africa suffers from periodic brown outs, deterioration in the transport infrastructure, high labor and feed costs and competition from lower-priced imports.


 

Erik Visser Appointed as CEO of Hamlet Protein

07/10/2019

Kjeld Johnnesen, chairman of the board of Hamlet Protein has announced the appointment of Erik Visser as CEO of the company effective June 1.  Visser replaces Soren Munch who served as CEO for more than ten years.  His contributions to the company positioning it for future growth were recognized by Johnnesen.

 

Visser has extensive experience in the EU, Latin America and Asia in the animal feed industry at Provimi, Nutriad and Adisseo.  In commenting on his appointment, Visser noted, “I am excited to join a talented group of professionals and to work with them to further expand the company across global markets.”

 


 

Hamlet Protein Provides Technical Assistance to China

07/10/2019

Hamlet Protein recently received a delegation of nutritionists and production specialists from China.  The world largest hog industry is faced with losses representing a high proportion of the national herd as a result of African swine fever.  Regulations restricting the use of antibiotics and plasma in diets and escalation in the price of soybeans as a result of the trade dispute with the U.S. have lead to a reevaluation of nutritional standards and practices.

 

Hamlet Protein produces a soy-based supplement for pigs and poultry that offer benefits to both segments of the livestock industry in China.

 

Further information on the benefits of Hamlet Protein products including extruded and enzyme-treated soybean meal can be accessed from the company website by clicking on the Hamlet Protein logo on the right margin of the welcome page.


 

Chinese Official Claims ASF Incidence "Moderating"

07/10/2019

The Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Yu Kangzhen claimed in an interview reported by Reuters that, “fresh outbreaks of African swine fever in China have dropped this year and pig production is slowly returning to normal.” 

 

Given the lack of transparency by officials in China stating that only 1.6 million hogs have been culled, the official Yu statement can be disregarded as wishful thinking.  Reliable observers indicate that almost half of breeding herds in China have been culled or have died and as many as 20 percent of growing hogs have succumbed to the disease.  It is noted that neighboring Vietnam has culled over 2.5 million hogs out of a national herd numbering 35 million as a result of ASF in 50 of 63 Provinces. Losses in China, with a pre-ASF population of 420 million hogs of all types are in all probability proportional to those in Vietnam indicating a loss of 35 million animals from ASF.

 

It appears that the central government in Beijing issues directives, including banning of food waste as feed for hogs and also requiring mandatory reporting of outbreaks and imposing quarantines without effective implementation. The reality is that Beijing has little control over distant provinces.

 

Informed observers including Rabobank consider that hog production in China will only return to normal levels following a radical restructuring of the industry with concentration in large integrations displacing small family farms. 

 

Control of the disease will depend on administration of an effective vaccine currently under development.  Given the extent of ASF in China it is evident that the disease is now endemic and that ultimately an organized and integrated industry applying biosecurity and vaccination will coexist with local small farms still subject to losses from infection.


 

Amazon Encounters UK Government Resistance to Deliveroo Investment

07/10/2019

The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority has ordered Amazon to cease integrating technology and services with Deliveroo pending an inquiry into the $570 million investment in the startup announced in May.  The Authority considers that Amazon may be effecting an acquisition of the company without a review of the anticompetitive implications of the transaction.

 

Recently Amazon ceased restaurant deliveries in the UK where GrubHub and Uber Eats dominate.  Amazon has defended its investment in Deliveroo noting that expanding services will benefit consumers and generate jobs in restaurants.


 

U.S. Energy Information Outlook

07/12/2019

The short-term energy outlook predicts benefits for the broiler industry.  National gas prices will average $2.35 per million BTU through September down from previous forecasts.  This is due to mild temperatures in June resulting in accumulation of inventory.  Concurrently improvements in drilling technology have reducing the cost of natural gas production.  Electricity costs should decline as domestic demand slackens, again due to mild weather with reduced use of air conditioning compared to seasonal averages. 

 

It is noted that since 2017 ten percent of the cold-fired electric generating capacity in the U.S. has been retired and replaced by natural gas that is less polluting and more economical for utilities.  

 

The U.S Energy Information Agency (EIA) predicts that energy generation from renewables including hydroelectric, wind and solar will provide 20 percent of U.S. power by the end of 2020.  It is anticipated that 25 gigawatts will be added from small-scale facilities in the current year through the end of 2020.

 

The global demand for liquid fuels will decline in 2018 attributed to slower economic growth.  This has implications for ethanol production since demand is declining at a faster rate than projections on which the RFS is based.  This is the motivation for the industry to lobby for E-15 and their objections to exemptions for small (and not so small) refineries.

 


 

Hybrid Turkeys Participates in Berlin Conference

07/12/2019

Dr. Nico Buddiger, Director of Product Management was a speaker at the recent Hafez Conference held in Berlin, Germany.  The event brings together production and academic personnel involved in the EU turkey industry.  Topics included prevention of diseases, welfare, food safety and current legislation.

 

Nico addressed innovations in turkey breeding and the importance of a dialogue with markets in the context of product development.


 

Reason and Compromise Proposed by EU Trade Negotiator

07/12/2019

Peter Beyer, the Transatlantic Coordinator for the German Government issued a statement urging common sense and compromise prior to initiating discussions with the U.S. Trade Representative.  In 2018, Jean-Claude Juncker of the European Commission reached an agreement with the White House deferring punitive U.S. tariffs on automobiles from the EU pending a broad trade agreement. Beyer noted that France, Germany and other European nations will have to subordinate national interest to achieve a broad deal between the EU and the U.S.

 

 

Beyer commented, “An accommodation looks like an unsolvable situation but it can be resolved through common sense.” Quoted in a July 9th posting on Reuters he stated, “We can at least start the formal process by excluding agriculture as a topic and achieve some concordance.”  The U.S. position is that a trade deal with the EU must include agricultural commodities despite the fact that the EU excluded agriculture from initial discussions.

 

A major area of conflict relates to claimed subsidies to both Airbus and Boeing.  The World Trade Organization has identified that both companies receive subsidies from their respective governments.

 

In what might be regarded as a prophetic statement Beyer noted, “If we truly see Europe as a whole, the national interest, while understandable, may have to be put aside to some extent for the greater European good.”  The threat of an impending Brexit is the 600-pound gorilla in the room and the possible outcome is a fragmentation of the EU. This may force accommodations among the remaining EU 27 to achieve a workable agreement with the U.S.


 

ASF Virus from Vietnam Characterized

07/12/2019

The initial outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in Vietnam was diagnosed in late January 2019 on a farm in Hung Yen Province, approximately 250 km from the border with China*.

 

The virus was isolated from organs of affected hogs and was characterized applying real-time PCR followed by whole genome sequencing of the major capsid protein gene p72.  The Vietnam strain (VNUA/HY-ASF1) belongs to p72 genotype II and is identical to strains isolated in China, Russia, and Poland.

In speculating on the mode of transmission from China to Vietnam, the authors suggested illegal introduction of pork products although movement of animals and fomites could not be excluded.  It is noted that Vietnam has already culled 2.5 million hogs during 2019, denoting rapid spread of infection despite prompt intervention by veterinary authorities.

 

*Le, Van Phan et al Outbreak of African Swine Fever, Vietnam, 2019.  Emerging Infectious Diseases 25: 1433-1435 (2019)


 

USPOULTRY Introduces Ergonomics Training Program

07/12/2019

A narrated interactive program for supervisors will be released by USPOULTRY as part of the Learning Management System.  Segments will include introduction to ergonomics, musculoskeletal risk factors, analysis and controls.  The program can be customized for specific in-company training.

 

The ergonomics and work training program is available to members of USPOULTRY and can be accessed from www.uspoultry.org/training


 

Walmart Inaugurates Lincolnwood, IL. Pickup Center

07/12/2019

Walmart formally opened a 40,000 square foot self-standing grocery pickup and delivery center in Lincolnwood, IL on July 8th.   Customers place orders on-line using the Walmart Grocery App and designate pickup at a selected time to receive their purchase delivered to their vehicle.  To publicize and promote the Lincolnwood pickup center, service fees will be waived until September 15.  Using the SHOPFREE code free delivery or pickup is offered on purchases more than $50.

Progressive Grocer indicates that the company had 2,450 grocery pickup locations, 1,000 stores with delivery and 900 equipped with pickup towers.


 

Rob Aukerman Appointed President North American Region, for Phibro Animal Health

07/12/2019

Rob Aukerman has been appointed as President, North American Region for Phibro Animal Health.  He has over 30 years of management and executive leadership experience in the U.S. and the international market.  He was previously Vice president for New Business Strategy and development for Elanco Animal Health.  He earned a bachelor’s of arts degree from Asbury University in 1981.  He has served on the Boards of the Animal Health Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association.


 

Secretary Perdue Comments on H-2A Visa Program

07/15/2019

In a July 15th release, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dr. Sonny Perdue issued the following statement on the Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration proposed rule to be published in The Federal Register to modernize the H-2A program to reflect stakeholder concerns and improve access to a legal source of agricultural labor. The proposed Rule will be issued in conformity with 29 CFR Part 501:-

 

“America’s farmers, ranchers, and producers continue to be the most productive in the world by increasing their access to a stable and legal workforce. The proposed rule will increase access to a reliable legal agricultural workforce, easing unnecessary burdens on farmers, increase enforcement against fraud and abuse, all while maintaining protections for America’s workers. When this rule goes into effect, our farmers will be released from unnecessary and burdensome regulations allowing them to do what they do best.”

 

 The eligibility requirements for legal non-immigrant workers including application and approval, conditions of service, housing, remuneration and records are outlined in the proposed Rule that extends over 490 pages. <www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov>

 

Comments should reference DOL Docket No. ETA -2019-0007.

 

When implemented the H-2A visa program should be transferred from the jurisdiction of the Department of Labor to the USDA as proposed in 2017.


 

USDA to Conduct ASF Contingency Planning Exercise

07/16/2019

According to a July 12th USDA release, the USDA will conduct a planning and review exercise on a hypothetical outbreak of African swine fever (ASF).  The event will take place during late September to evaluate plans, policies, procedures, command structure and control of an outbreak.  The event has the support of the National Pork Board, obviously concerned over an outbreak given the severe consequences following emergence of infection in Eastern European and in Southeast Asia with special reference to China.

 

According to the USDA-APHIS press release the participants in the exercise will evaluate capabilities, and deploy resources in a realistic simulation requiring problem solving, coordination of resources,. Presumably there will be lessons gained from the 2015 avian influenza epornitic. 

 

Dr. Dave Pyburn, senior vice president of the National Pork Board noted, “We are trying to create a realistic scenario of a confirmed foreign animal disease in this country to see how each stakeholder reacts and to find the gaps that need more work.”  He added, “It’s about finding ways to improve protection for our nation’s swine herd.”


 

Shane Commentary

Prospects for Bilateral China-U.S. Talks to Resume

07/16/2019

In a CNBC interview on Friday July 12th White House advisor and avowed Sinophobe, Dr. Peter Navarro announced that face-to-face talks with China would soon resume.  Navarro indicated that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer would travel to Beijing to resume trade talks that terminated in May.

 

According to a Presidential tweet following the summit at the G-20 meeting in Osaka, Japan, China agreed to “import substantial quantities of agricultural products”.  Subsequently China denied that this was their commitment arising from the meeting. The conflict in perceptions clearly indicates the need for professional diplomats and aides to attend summit meetings and prepare minutes reflecting decisions. The President most recently commented, “China is letting us down in that they are not buying the agriculture products from our great farmers that they said they would.  Hopefully they will start soon!”  White House Economic Advisory, Larry Kudlow commented on Thursday July 11th that the U.S. expects China to start purchasing soybeans and other agriculture products in the near future.

 

Conflicting messages from the White House have roiled markets for many months and until substantial orders are placed by China, resolution of the trade conflict remains speculative.

 

The dearth of agricultural exports to China is most certainly affecting the balance of trade.  In June, the negative differential between U.S. exports to China and imports from that country attained $29.9 billion, eleven percent higher than the $26.9 billion posted in May.  The impact of the higher tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods is reflected in the decline in exports to the U.S. from China amounting to 7.8 percent in June compared to a 4.2 percent decline in May.

 

The decision to place a 25 percent tariff on an additional $300 billion in Chinese exports to the U.S. is currently on hold pending the outcome of negotiations.

 

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