• Denmark taking closer look at sow mortality

    In recent years, pig farmers in Denmark have had a particular focus on reducing sow mortality, which is one reason that sow mortality has fallen from approximately 15.1% in 2008 to 11.4% in 2015. However, sow mortality is still higher in Denmark than in comparable countries, according to Aarhus University in Denmark, so the Danish pig industry has decided to increase its efforts to reduce sow mortality to 9% by 2018. Earlier this year, DSM Nutritional Products held a Pork Nexus event that examined the sow mortality issue in the U.S. As part of the agreement between Aarhus University and Denmark's Ministry of Environment & Food regarding policy support, researchers from the Aarhus department of animal science were asked to chart the causes of sow mortality in Denmark, examine
  • Italy demands origin labels for pasta and rice

    All packets of pasta and rice sold in Italy will have to include labels of origin showing where the produce was grown, the government ruled on Thursday, in a move it said was aimed at protecting local farmers. The agriculture and industry ministers signed a decree ordering the new labeling policy, saying it would run in an experimental fashion for two years, and criticizing the European Union for not introducing the measure across the 28-nation bloc. "We are putting Italy in the vanguard of Europe when it comes to labeling as a competitive tool for the Italian (agriculture) sector," Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina said in a statement.
  • Farmers, retailers, ecologists set to clash at French food superconference

    French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe opened a five-month consultation on the nation's food on Thursday, pointing to the hardship faced by many farmers but insisting that the government cannot stand in for the market. President Emmanuel Macron cancelled an appearance to prolong a visit to an air base the day after the resignation of the defence chief. Macron was supposed to close the day's deliberations on the national diet but, following the resignation of chief of staff Pierre de Villiers over budget cuts, he prolonged a visit to the Istres air base, a key location for France's nuclear arsenal. There he tried to calm the troops with an assurance that the defence budget will be the only one to rise in 2018, adding that he was sticking to his commitment to raise it to two
  • Bulgarian MPs postpone amendments on opening up sale of farmland to foreigners

    At the initiative of the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, all groups in the National Assembly except one have agreed to the withdrawal of legislative amendments intended at opening up the sale of agricultural land to foreigners. Bulgaria, on becoming a member of the European Union in 2007, was allowed to have a seven-year moratorium on the sale of farmland to foreigners. The country’s National Assembly, however, legislated after the end of the moratorium a legal requirement that a foreigner wanting to buy farmland should have been resident in the country for five years. The European Commission has signalled that this is a violation of EU principles and Bulgaria could face hefty financial penalties.
  • Beef prices finally set to tumble in last half of year, as cattle industry, turns a corner

    Carnivores rejoice. Beef prices look to be finally heading south. Anyone who has bought a steak recently has undoubtedly felt the sting of record-high beef prices, with good quality cuts going for more than $70 a kilogram in some parts of Australia. Even offcuts have been escalating over the past four years as the Queensland drought, export demand and low slaughter rates all contributed to a major beef shortage in the country. But according to Meat and Livestock Australia, we have turned a corner.
  • Trump pick to be the Agriculture Department's top scientist is a 'global warming skeptic'

    President Trump has nominated Iowa political supporter Sam Clovis, who has called himself 'extremely skeptical' of global warming science, to the top scientific post at the Agriculture Department. Clovis, who ran an Iowa radio show and has long had influence in Iowa politics, served as a co-chair of Trump's presidential campaign. Trump then named him as a a senior advisor in the Agriculture Department. One thing he doesn't have on his resume is a science degree. According to the White House announcement of his nomination, Clovis got a bachelor's degree in political science at the Air Force Academy and and MBA from Golden Gate University and a doctorate in public administration from the University of Alabama. Typically, the person holding the position, which oversees $3 billion in
  • Billionaires make it rain on Plenty, the indoor farming startup

    SoftBank Vision Fund, the huge tech-investment vehicle helmed by Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son, has led a $200 million investment into indoor farming startup Plenty. Joining Son on his trip out to back the (indoor) farm movement are notable tech billionaires Eric Schmidt and Jeff Bezos through their investment firms Innovation Endeavors and Bezos Expeditions. Previous investors, including the venture firm DCM, also participated in the round. The round will be used to support the global rollout of Plenty’s vertical indoor farms, which can produce crops at yields 530 times greater than that of a typical field. Plenty farms can grow anything except tree fruit and root vegetables, and the company will sell its veggies at costs that are competitive with typical prices for
  • Iowa farmers to China: 'We need them and they need us'

    Gov. Kim Reynolds flew out of the Des Moines International Airport on Wednesday, embarking on a historic trade mission to China that will focus on agriculture. The governor and representatives from the Iowa Farm Bureau and other agricultural groups will travel to China between Wednesday and July 28 to meet with government officials and industry partners. Stops on the nine-day trip include Shanghai, Xi’an and Beijing, where they will be greeted by U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad, who is Reynolds’ predecessor as governor of Iowa. Ron Heck, who plants 4,000 acres on his century farm in Perry, said he’s thrilled about the trade mission because, “I’m the beneficiary; I get to sell my crops in China.” He’s been to China five times on several
  • German organisation embarks on training to boost potato production

    German aid organization (GIZ) has embarked on a training program to boost potato farming in areas where climatic conditions favour the crop in Nyandarua and Bungoma Counties. Potato is Kenya’s second staple crop after maize currently beset by climatic and disease problems. The training incorporates the tuber’s nutritional values usually mistakenly confined to starch. The auspicious program kicked off on Monday with the training of ward agricultural officer popularly known as frontline extension workers on facilitation skills based on farmer, field and business schools methodology. 21 ward agricultural officers are set to benefit from the inaugural 10 day training at the Kenya Agricultural and livestock Research Organization (KALRO) potato research centre in
  • Dairy board to launch 'quality mark' for milk products

    Come Thursday, the diary products will also have "quality mark" like Woolmark, Agmark and ISI. The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) will on Thursday launch its own "quality mark" logo for dairy products in the country, including milk and curd pouches. The quality mark is aimed at bringing about process improvement in the entire value chain from producer to the consumer to ensure availability of safe and quality of milk and products both for the domestic and foreign market. According to NDDB, the dairy units which meet the criteria for award of quality mark will be allowed to use the logo on the package containing milk and milk products and the mark shall be valid for three years subject to maintenance of quality, food safety standards and compliance with terms and
  • The mad US cheese scientists fighting to save the dairy industry

    Trimming all this fat is the job of the chief food innovation officer, Liz Matthews, and a 40-person team of chefs, food scientists, nutritionists, microbiologists, chemists, and even one entomologist (he does food safety). Observers have unironically called this crew fast-food “disruptors.” In the past five years, Matthews’s team has trotted out such blockbuster menu items as the Doritos Locos Taco (in Nacho Cheese, Fiery, and Cool Ranch varieties), a breakfast taco with a waffle for a shell, and a chalupa with fried chicken in place of its usual flatbread. Until a year and a half ago, however, one simple idea had foiled them: a fried tortilla full of oozing, molten cheese. “Having this fabulous taco with melty cheese in every single bite was something we
  • France launches field-to-fork food debates

    France, widely seen as a country synonymous with good food, will launch on Thursday a wide set of debates on the sector ranging from field to fork and aimed at improving farm incomes and the industry's environmental record. The debates, promised by President Emmanuel Macron during his campaign, come as farmers of the European Union's largest farm producer grapple with low prices and animal health crises while food manufacturers complain about taxes and red tape. Several hundred participants including company and industry representatives, unions, non-governmental organizations and ministry officials, will gather in 14 thematic workshops between end-August and end-November, officials said.
  • French anger at CAP co-financing proposal

    The European Commission’s suggestion that EU member states co-finance part of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the biggest single consumer of the bloc’s budget, has met with steady support in Germany and exasperation in France. EURACTIV France reports. Brexit is causing headaches far beyond the UK’s borders. The EU executive’s proposal to fill the hole left in the EU’s finances after Britain’s departure has provoked ire in France. “The European Commission is clearly making a mistake with this proposal! It is a way to limit Germany’s overall contribution to the budget but it makes absolutely no sense,” a French diplomatic source told EURACTIV. Brexit will leave a €10bn hole in the EU’s €150bn annual budget.
  • Organic farming reaches record level in Germany

    Increasing numbers of German farmers are relying on organic production, with 7.5 percent of all arable land now cultivated ecologically. The government has set its sights on an ambitious target of 20 percent. According to new figures from the Federal Office of Agriculture and Food (BLE), the total area of ecologically cultivated land in Germany in 2016 rose 14.9 percent in comparison with the year before to reach 1.25 million hectares (3.09 million acres). That represents 7.5 percent of all arable land. As a comparison, in 2015, 6.5 percent of all arable land was cultivated ecologically, up from 3.2 percent at the turn of the millennium. The number of organic farms also rose last year by 9.6 percent to 27,132. Compared to the year 2000, the number of organic farms has more
  • Trump: It took 'one sentence' to get ban on American beef lifted in China

    President Trump said it only took him "one sentence" with Chinese President Xi Jinping to lift the ban on American beef in China. "The other administrations couldn't even come close. And I told him, you know how long it took? One sentence. I said, 'President Xi we'd love to sell beef back in China again.' He said, 'you can do that.' That was the end of that. Right?" Trump said during the kick off of the White House's "Made in America" week to promote American manufacturing. China banned imports of American beef in 2003 after a case of mad cow disease.
  • Grapes shrivel as Spanish farmers lament a relentless drought

    A taunting peal of thunder rings out overhead as Diego García de la Peña studies one of his ponds and wonders whether its water will see his cattle through until October. The 65-year-old farmer – a former bullfighter who quotes Federico García Lorca and whose ancestors were among the legions of steely Extremadurans who bent the New World to their will – is a worried man. The source of García de la Peña’s anxiety is imprinted on the landscape of his 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) ranch. Its pastures are dry and pale brown, their grasses short and brittle, and the water level in its 10 ponds is a metre lower than it would be in a good year. But this is not a good year in Extremadura or elsewhere on the Iberian peninsula. Once
  • EU, Brazil propose farm subsidies overhaul to help developing countries

    The European Union and Brazil on Monday (17 July) proposed to the World Trade Organisation a reform of farm subsidies in order to “level the playing field” for emerging economies, an EU statement said. The two agriculture powers submitted the proposal, which would exempt the least developed countries from subsidy limits, in the run-up to a WTO meeting in Buenos Aires in December. The EU and Brazil are two of the world’s biggest producers of agricultural products. “Together with Brazil and other countries we are demonstrating our staunch support for a global trading system based on rules,” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said in a statement. Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan added: “This proposal should lead other WTO members to
  • Measures protecting Canadian dairy industry under fire at U.S. NAFTA hearing

    Canadian measures to protect the dairy industry came under the microscope at a U.S. congressional hearing on revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement Tuesday, suggesting the Liberal government will have a tough time convincing legislators to look past the long-standing trade irritant. "We want to end these discriminatory practices," said Congressman Dave Reichert, the Republican chair of a House of Representatives subcommittee on trade that met in Washington, D.C., to discuss what they would like to see in a new NAFTA deal hammered out between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The Trump administration released a list of its broad goals for the NAFTA talks on Monday, which include expanded access to U.S. agricultural exports.
  • 'Chunks of land missing' on flood-hit farmland

    The heavy rain that swept up the country late last week left James Bruce's farm in Martinborough waist-deep in water, and turned his driveway into a 2m deep river. Mr Bruce said repairing flattened fences and clearing slips on his property would be a big job. "We've probably got 14-odd days for two people just to clean up around the river. "There's some big chunks of land missing, 20m worth, it's all gone and is part of the river now. "There was a gateway and a fence, and I don't even know where that is. It's all gone too." Mr Bruce said he would have to wait for river levels to drop before getting out to assess the rest of the damage on the farm. "It's not until you actually start cleaning up that you realise how long things are going to take and how bad it is."
  • DuPont, Monsanto urge transparent GMO crop reviews in China

    Global seeds giants have called for transparent, science-based approvals processes for new crop types after China approved two more genetically modified (GMO) crops for import, but left four others on the waiting list. China on Monday approved Syngenta's 5307 insect-resistant corn sold under the Agrisure Duracade brand and Monsanto's 87427 glyphosate-resistant corn, sold under the Roundup Ready brand, for a period of three years. The move was the second in the past month to expand access to biotech seeds as part of Beijing's 100-day trade talks with Washington, and took total approvals to four after Dow Chemical Co's Enlist corn and Monsanto's Vistive Gold soybeans were given the go-ahead last month.

News source: Farming UK