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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, December 20th

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China Buying More U.S. Soybeans

China has bought a second round of U.S. soybeans this month, the first purchases of U.S. soybeans by China since the beginning of a tit-for-tat trade war. The Department of Agriculture announced exporters sold 1.1 million metric tons to China for delivery by August 31st. The sales follow a trade war cease-fire to allow the U.S. and China to discuss a trade agreement of some sort by March of 2019. China is the largest buyer of U.S. soybeans, but halted purchases after implementing a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans in retaliation to U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods. China had pledged to begin purchasing U.S. agricultural products following a meeting with President Trump at the G20 Summit. Meanwhile, Trump is reportedly seeking to meet with China in January to further advance trade talks.

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Livestock Antibiotic Use Down 33 Percent

Antibiotics use in livestock dropped 33 percent between 2016 and 2017, according to data from the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA’s 2017 Summary Report on Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food-Producing Animals documents the decline. The report also found domestic sales and distribution of all medically important antimicrobials decreased 41 percent since 2015 and decreased 28 percent since the first year of reported sales in 2009. While sales data do not necessarily reflect actual antimicrobial use, the reduction in sales volume observed in 2016 and 2017 is an indicator that ongoing efforts to support antimicrobial stewardship are having a significant impact, according to the FDA. The federal watchdog says optimizing how antimicrobial drugs are used and limiting their use to only when necessary to treat, control, or prevent disease will help to preserve the effectiveness of these drugs for fighting disease in both humans and animals.

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China Cracking Down on Illegal Hog Slaughter

China is cracking down on illegal hog slaughtering to control the spread of African swine fever. Reuters reports illegal slaughtering and actions such as injecting water and other materials into pigs to increase weight have emerged in some areas recently, after a government ban on live hog transport sent prices soaring in major consumption areas of China. The activities, according to China, have disrupted the hog slaughter sector and increased the risk of spreading African swine fever. China plans increased inspections of slaughterhouses and harsh punishment for illegal operations. China also intends to build more large-scale slaughterhouses to combat spread. The move will also encourage sector consolidation. China has reported roughly 90 cases of the deadly African swine fever since early August. The cases have prompted fears of spread across the global pork industry.

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Food Labels Impact Consumer Habits

Nutritional information on packaged foods encourage healthier eating and can change consumer habits, according to a new study by the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. The study assessed the effectiveness of multiple types of food labels and found that these approaches can impact some targets, but not others, for both consumer and industry behavior. The study reviewed two million unique observations, including consumer reported dietary intakes, purchases, and sales receipts. The research found label information reduces consumer intake of calories by 6.6 percent, fat by 10.6 percent, and other unhealthy food options by 13 percent. Labeling also increased consumers’ vegetable consumption by 13.5 percent. In contrast, labeling did not significantly impact consumer intakes of other targets such as total carbohydrate, total protein, saturated fat, fruits, whole grains, or other healthy options.

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International Plant Nutrition Institute Transfer Programs to Other Organizations

The International Plant Nutrition Institute will transfer its programs to three other organizations. The announcement follows a vote last week by the organization’s board of directors to transfer key scientific assets and programs to The Fertilizer Institute, Fertilizer Canada and the International Fertilizer Association. The three organizations will receive enhanced support for initiatives in 4R nutrient stewardship, regional agronomic extension, and engagement with the scientific community, policymakers, NGO’s and other stakeholders, according to a news release. The final transfer of assets, including the closing of IPNI’s Atlanta, Georgia headquarters and regional offices will be effective on June 30, 2019. IPNI Canada will continue to operate from its office, and the Foundation for Agronomic Research will remain the umbrella organization for the 4R Research Fund.

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USDA Finalized New Rules on Imported Cattle Branding

The Department of Agriculture has finalized new cattle branding regulations for imported cattle. The new rules seek to reduce confusion that has led to animals being improperly rejected for import into the United States. Meat industry publication Meatingplace reports the new rules simplify the branding identifiers for steers, spayed heifers and sexually intact bovines shipped from Mexico. The new brand is larger than the previous version, and uses only one letter: “M” for all brands.  USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service says the charges should reduce the need for rebranding and the potential for branding errors. The new rules are scheduled to go into effect mid-January.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.