National clips

DISASTER AID ...

Sign-up begins for disaster assistance

More than 2,000 FSA offices across the country stand ready to assist

Enrollment is also beginning for the Tree Assistance Program (TAP), which provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters.

by USDA  |   April 15,2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that starting today, eligible farmers and ranchers can sign up for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance programs restored by passage of the 2014 Farm Bill.

"We implemented these programs in record time and kept our commitment to begin sign-up today," said Agriculture Secretary Vilsack.

"To ensure enrollment goes as smoothly as possible, dedicated staff in over 2,000 Farm Service Agency offices across the country are doing everything necessary to help producers that have suffered through two and a half difficult years with no assistance...

    

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Sign-up begins for disaster assistance

    

COMBATING DISEASE ...

USDA approves new vaccine to fight BRD

Vaccine protects against viruses, bacteria most associated with BRD

Respiratory viruses can cause bovine respiratory disease (BRD) on their own, but they also can compromise the immune system that normally protects cattle against bacteria. This allows bacteria to attack their host and cause severe cases of BRD.

by Elanco  |   April 15,2014

GREENFIELD, Ind. — The USDA has issued a Veterinary Biologics License for Titanium® 5 + PH-M, a new vaccine that protects cattle against the viruses and bacteria most associated with bovine respiratory disease (BRD).

Marketed by Elanco, Titanium 5 + PH-M provides modified-live virus (MLV) protection against bovine viral diarrhea (BVD), types 1 and 2, bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV), infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) and parainfluenza3 (PI3).

Each dose also protects against Mannheimia haemolytica10 and Pasteurella multocida bacteria, and is safe for cattle at all stages of production.

    

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USDA approves new vaccine to fight BRD

    

COTTON SUBSIDIES ...

Brazil wants action against U.S. farm bill

Brazilian Association of Cotton Producers (ABRAPA) goes to WTO

ABRAPA board members recently met with Brazilian Ambassador to the WTO, Paulo Estivallet de Mesquita, concerning the U.S. farm bill. (ABRAPA)

by Fibre2fashion  |   April 14,2014

The board of the Brazilian Association of Cotton Producers (ABRAPA) has called for a speedy implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) panel against the US farm bill, especially in view of the conflict regarding the cotton subsidies.

According to a statement issued by ABRAPA, board members of ABRAPA recently met with Brazilian Ambassador to WTO Paulo Estivallet de Mesquita and requested him to seek for quick action from the WTO panel against the US farm bill.

At the meeting, president of ABRAPA Gilson Pinesso said that it was necessary to minimize the damage caused to Brazilian cotton producers as soon as possible, and not let the US farm bill cause more harm to them.

    

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Brazil wants action against U.S. farm bill

    

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE ...

Astronauts to grow lettuce in space

Goal of the Veg-01 experiment is to see how well plants grow in space

A prototype version of Veggie with red romaine lettuce plants growing inside of it. (Gioia Massa, NASA)

by Elizabeth Howell, SPACE.com  |   April 14,2014

Astronauts longing for fresh lettuce in orbit will soon have the chance to grow it for themselves: NASA is sending a mini-farm into space.

When the private spaceflight company SpaceX launches its next Dragon cargo mission to the International Space Station on Monday (April 14), the capsule will be carrying a small plant growth chamber built to let astronauts grow "Outredgeous" lettuce in orbit.

The goal of the Veg-01 experiment, nicknamed "Veggie", is to see how well plants grow in orbit. If these early tests go well and the food proves safe, scientists hope to expand the menu.

    

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Astronauts to grow lettuce in space

    

FUTURE FARMERS ...

Not your father's youth farm group

FFA enrollment up, highest number of students in century-old history

Reece Melton, 18, of Longmont, Colo., is one of 580,000 FFA members across the country. (Luke Runyon, Harvest Public Media)

by Harvest Public Media  |   April 10,2014

A record number of kids are donning the blue corduroy jacket of FFA, formerly known as Future Farmers of America. The jacket is an icon of rural life — the organization is sort of like Boy Scouts for farming, and it dates back to the 1920s.

Even though fewer and fewer young people grow up on farms these days, the extra-curricular activity is attracting more urban and suburban kids interested in food and agricultural science.

Eighteen-year-old Reece Melton unlatches the fence leading into a muddy pen at the St. Vrain Valley School District's working farm in Longmont, Colo., near Denver.

    

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Not your father's youth farm group

    

INTERNATIONAL MARKETS ...

China importers default on soy cargoes

China imports 60 percent of the soybeans traded in the world

A worker carries a sack of soybeans at a food wholesale market in Shenyang, Liaoning province January 13, 2011. (Sheng Li, Reuters)

by Naveem Thukral and Niu Shuping, Reuters  |   April 10,2014

Chinese importers have defaulted on at least 500,000 tons of U.S. and Brazilian soybean cargoes worth around $300 million, the biggest in a decade, as buyers struggle to get credit amid losses in processing beans.

Three companies in the eastern province of Shandong had defaulted on payments for shipments as they were unable to open letters of credit with banks, trade sources said on Thursday.

A string of defaults on loans, bonds and shadow banking products in recent weeks has highlighted rising credit risks in China, partly fuelled by signs the economy is slowing.

    

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China importers default on soy cargoes

    

GMO LABELING ...

Bill seeks to block state GMO food labeling

Proposed legislation would nullify states' GMO labeling efforts

Employees stock shelves near a sign supporting non genetically modified organisms (GMO) at the Central Co-op in Seattle, Washington October 29, 2013. (Jason Redmond, Reuters)

by Carey Gillam, Reuters  |   April 9,2014

A Republican congressman from Kansas introduced legislation on Wednesday that would nullify efforts in multiple states to require labeling of genetically modified foods

The bill, dubbed the "Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act" was drafted by U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo from Kansas, and is aimed at overriding bills in roughly two dozen states that would require foods made with genetically engineered crops to be labeled as such.

The bill specifically prohibits any mandatory labeling of foods developed using bioengineering.

    

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Bill seeks to block state GMO food labeling