Senate Bill Seeks Voluntary COOL Labeling

Jul 23, 2015 224
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A bill introduced in the Senate on Thursday would change Country-of-Origin meat labeling from mandatory to voluntary—a move that clashes with a bill passed in the U.S. House earlier this summer to repeal COOL. Former Senate Agriculture Committee chair Debbie Stabenow introduced the legislation. Stabenow says the Voluntary Country of Origin Labeling and Trade Enhancement Act of 2015  would comply with the WTO ruling by removing certain meat products from the mandatory labeling program. The WTO ruled against mandatory COOL for the fourth time earlier this year. But, Senate Agriculture chair Pat Roberts introduced an amendment to repeal COOL. Roberts said “whether you support COOL or oppose COOL, the fact is retaliation is.” Chairman Roberts has opposed COOL from its inception.

Source: NAFB News Service

Jul 23, 2015 290

Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, by an overwhelming bipartisan vote. The nation’s corn, soybean and wheat organizations along with others have released statements of support for the move by the House. They are also encouraging Senate passage when their version arrives.

Indiana Farm Bureau president Don Villwock released the following statement:

Its adoption is a good first step toward a national, science-based labeling law that eliminates the confusion created by a patchwork of mandatory state labeling laws.

The safety and benefits of biotechnology are proven. The Food and Drug Administration, American Medical Association, National Academy of Sciences and World Health Organization have all confirmed that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are as safe for human consumption as their non-GMO counterparts. 

In addition, GMOs enable farmers to be better stewards of the environment, allowing us to grow more crops on less land while using fewer pesticides and less water.

Mandatory labeling of safe products that contain genetically modified material does a disservice to both producers and consumers, raising costs, creating confusion and generating fear.

Indiana Farm Bureau thanks those in our congressional delegation who looked past the activist rhetoric and voted in favor of a fair and common sense approach to food labeling: Reps. Walorski, Stutzman, Rokita, Brooks, Messer, Bucshon and Young. 

We especially thank Reps. Rokita and Messer for embracing this issue early on and helping to shepherd it through the process to this point.

We encourage both Senator Coats and Senator Donnelly to support the Senate version of the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act when it reaches their chamber in September.

Source: INFB

Kelsay Cow Care Video Targeting Millennials

Jul 22, 2015 390

Kelsay in national video

Joe Kelsay videoIndiana’s Joe Kelsay, former ISDA director, is back, this time in a national video addressing some of the myths about the care dairy cows receive. The video is one of three available online from Dairy Management Inc.’s The Udder Truth.

“Sometimes people say cows are overworked,” Kelsay says in the video. “Nothing could be further from the truth. The cows are getting into the milking parlor and going through that process. They’re only being milked about 5 minutes 3 times a day, but the rest of the day is really spent getting a bite to eat, getting a drink of water, and laying down on a water filled mattress just chilling out.”

The videos and edgy content are designed to capture the interest of the next generation of decision makers, specifically millennials. Paul Rovey, Arizona dairy farmer and chairman of DMI says the checkoff needs to make sure that group knows the true story of where food comes from, and Kelsay agrees.

“As we think about the future, about the trends that will shape policy, that will shape approaches to the food system, given their size and influence and the fact that they’re moving very quickly into a very powerful part of what will drive the decisions of the future, absolutely this is a target group. We need to make sure as customers we are addressing their needs, discussing what their questions are, and really trying to find a proactive way to get out there and be in front of them and be transparent.”

Joe Kelsay Udder TruthKelsay told HAT he and all farmers have a responsibility to find ways to reach out and communicate with customers and consumers, “and by the way, a big part of this is listening to the other side. It’s not just talking about what we know and do, it’s really helping to understand what concerns are out there, what the questions there are and how to respond to those.”

The video with Kelsay is on his family’s Whiteland, Indiana dairy operation where he is a sixth-generation dairy farmer.

The series also addresses antibiotics, and “big ag.” The videos are at www.DairyGood.org and social media sites.

Villwock Talks Crop Loss

Jul 22, 2015 306

Villwock Talks Crop Damage

Overabundant rainfall has hampered row crop farmers throughout the state of Indiana this year. Farmers are facing water logged and flooded fields with poor crop conditions. Indiana Farm Bureau president Don Villwock says USDA reports this year’s crop loss could compare to losses from the 2012 drought.

“We’re a pretty sad looking state right now. There are pockets with some good crops in it, but too many acres of bad crops. Some areas had 21 inches of rain in 21 days. ”

Villwock says the damage in his state is widespread, and even if the rains would stop, they still need sporadic rainfall to move the crop towards maturity. He says the economic losses are huge.

“Ag economists think we’re over 400 million. It’s a significant amount of dollars for producers in a year where we were really, with commodity prices, looking at a break-even year probably at best already.”

Villwock says thought farmers are resilient and already looking towards a better crop next year.

“We were kind of prepared for the economic downturn. We just weren’t prepared for this big weather catastrophe we’re suffering right now; but we’ll help our neighbors, we’ll get through this and next year will be a better year.”

TruHorizons names Hartstack General Manager

Jul 22, 2015 245

Leland HartstackIndiana agricultural company TruHorizons, with locations in Milford, La Paz and Bremen, has announced the hiring of Leland Hartstack as General Manager. Hartstack comes to TruHorizons from Zen-Noh Grain Corporation in Convent, La., where he managed a large barge and vessel facility. Prior to that, he worked as a merchandiser/trader, origination coordinator and region group manager with Consolidated Grain and Barge, Inc., and started his career in animal nutrition with Cargill.

Hartstack is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a bachelor science in Agriculture Economics. Steve Heiden, a retired 37-year Cargill employee with extensive background in logistics, merchandising, operations and management, had been serving as interim general manager.

TruHorizons is a joint venture of Trupointe Cooperative, Inc. and Cargill, Inc. that began operations in March. The agricultural company offers growers the products, services and resources needed from seed to harvest, such as soil sampling, nutrients, pest management, grain marketing, grain storage and more. A state-of-the-art agronomy facility is located in Milford, with grain elevators in Bremen and La Paz. A new 4.3-million bushel grain elevator is currently being built on the Milford site.

FFA and CSX Team Up for Brickyard Sponsorship

Jul 22, 2015 262

38 FFA FordBefore a single engine starts on July 26, the Brickyard 400 will make history once again this year as the No. 38 FFA + CSX Living to Serve Ford becomes the first car to represent the 87-year-old, Indianapolis-based agricultural education and youth service organization as a primary sponsor in a NASCAR race.

“I can’t think of a better place to celebrate the future of American agriculture and community service than the Brickyard 400,” says David Gilliland, driver of the No. 38 FFA + CSX Living to Serve Ford.  “FFA members bring so much energy, commitment and service to our country. It is quite an honor to drive for them.”

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racecar will feature a blue, gold and white paint scheme with an FFA emblem on the hood.

CSX, the nation’s third largest railroad, is one of six Platinum Sponsors for the National FFA Foundation, giving more than $1M annually since 2011. Both of the organizations make citizenship and community service top priorities with their shared “Living to Serve” partnership, which is supported by the CSX “Beyond Our Rails” program. In 2014, more than $1.77M in time was invested as part of Living to Serve and nearly 50,000 community members were served by 84 chapters in 34 states.

“Joining together at the Brickyard 400 is a great way to celebrate our partnership with CSX and continue our focus on “living
to serve” in the community – especially by sharing the important message of safety first,” said Molly Ball, President, National FFA Foundation.

The two organizations work together on a number of initiatives to improve leadership, development, service-learning and environmental stewardship, including the following:

  • Living To Serve Environmental Grants (Up to $2,000 to chapter for an environmental service project the provides FFA members the tools to make a difference in their local communities – around 70 of these per year are awarded)
  • State FFA Grants (22 $10,000-$25,000 grants for an array of programs and activities)
  • National FFA Scholarship Program (Scholarships of $1k/yr for 4 years)
  • State Officer Pathway Program (Training for state FFA officers to help enhance their confidence and leadership skills)
  • Washington Leadership Conference (Students learn to be effective leaders by learning their purpose, how to value people and how to take action to serve others)
  • Engagement & Stewardship Intern (FFA member gets CSR experience with a major corporation)

“We’re excited to celebrate this event with FFA, a critical partner in connecting CSX to the important agriculture market we serve and helping us give back in our local communities,” said David Hall, resident vice president, state and government affairs, CSX. “With more 610,000 student members, FFA will be helpful advocates to promote the importance of using caution around railroad tracks to a teen audience, one of the most vulnerable age groups for rail-related incidents.”

Outside of the race, CSX and FFA have an ongoing “Living to Serve” partnership, focused on community service and leadership development. CSX is one of six Platinum Sponsors for the National FFA Foundation, having contributed more than $1 million annually since 2011.

CSX will also be the primary sponsor of the No. 34 Play It Safe Ford driven by Brett Moffitt. FFA will assist in promoting the importance of using caution around railroad tracks to their teen audience, a key demographic in railroad safety education.

More information about CSX’s national partners and safety messages can be found online at www.beyondourrails.org or by following #localmotive, an ongoing conversation about CSX’s presence in the communities it serves through volunteerism, job creation, and moving the goods that are essential for the economy.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 610,240 student members who belong to one of 7,665 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Source: FFA

American Dairy Association Indiana Crowns 2015 Dairy Princess

Jul 22, 2015 220

Kylei KleinKylei Klein of Connersville was selected as the 2015-16 Dairy Princess for the American Dairy Association Indiana. The crowning took place before a crowd of dairy industry members and the candidates’ families and friends, on Tuesday, July 21, at the Embassy Suites North in Indianapolis. Kylei, age 17, is the daughter of Rodney and Kelly Klein. She represented the Indiana Ayrshire Breeders Association in the 2015 Indiana Dairy Princess Scholarship Program.  Miss Klein will be a junior at Lincoln High School. Following a personal interview, Kylei gave a presentation called “It’s Not About the Money” about why dairy farmers choose to farm.

Retiring Princess Kamille Brawner of Hanover, ended her reign by turning over the title to Kylei and wished her well as she represents Indiana dairy farmers throughout the coming year. Kylei will serve as the official goodwill ambassador for Indiana’s dairy farmers during the year by making a number of public appearances and participating in promotional events. As the Indiana Dairy Princess, Klein will receive a $1000 scholarship from the American Dairy Association along with other gifts of appreciation from Dean Foods, Foremost Farms USA, and Dairy Farmers of America.

Contestants were judged on poise, personality, speaking ability, education, and dairy knowledge. Judges for the contest included Kimmi Devaney –livestock programs director at the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Christy Coon – manager of Indiana State Creamery License Division, and Dave Blower – editor of Farm World publications.

This year’s Dairy Princess Scholarship Contest featured stiff competition from five excellent candidates. The other Dairy Princess candidates were Christy Mote (Indiana Milking Shorthorn Society), Cheyanne Bowman (Dean Foods), Shelby Nierman (Indiana Brown Swiss Association), and Michaela Alexander (Indiana Guernsey Breeders Association).

Indiana has approximately 1200 dairy farms that produce wholesome, nutritious milk. Indiana dairy farmers produce over 3.5 billion pounds of milk annually and the state is the second-largest producer of ice cream. As Dairy Princess, Kylei will be educating the public and her peers on the importance of dairy to Indiana’s economy and to Hoosier health.

Source: ADAI

Farmers Enjoying a Good Crop in Western Indiana

Jul 21, 2015 290

A Better Crop in Some Areas

jim watts farmersburgCrops across Indiana have been beat up by heavy rains all season long, but some areas haven’t had those same severe issues. Vigo county corn and soybean grower, Jim Watts, says he could use another shower on his crops this week.

“Crops look pretty good so far, but it’s been pretty wet. We could be hurting for moisture pretty soon if it turns off dry on us.”

While the crop looks pretty good in Vigo county, Watts says disease pressure is coming on strong.vigo county corn

“A little bit of the gray in the corn and some northern in places. We’ve been using fungicides to take care of the problem. With soybeans, we’ve been scouting and haven’t seen anything right yet.”

Channel Seed’s Andy Newell echoes that sentiment. He says growers are keeping a keen eye on their soybeans.

“We’ve had a lot of conversations about guys trying to get out and spray their beans. Weed pressure is high and we had a lot of conversations about herbicide recommendations and what they need to use to kill the weeds that are getting really tall right now. I think a lot of conversations are around marestail being so hard to kill. But there are obviously other weeds that we have problems with. We do have some palmer amaranth in the area and other pigweed species.”

vigo county soybeansIn the Vigo county and surrounding area pocket, Newell says corn is hitting its stride.

“Most all of it is in full reproduction mode. You can safely say in this area the corn crop is full VT or maybe a little beyond that right now.”

Warm and wet conditions will be best for Watt’s crop moving forward.

“We’re going to need some warm weather to get some growing degree days. We don’t really need it to turn off dry on us right now because we had a wet June and our corn crop is kind of shallow-rooted. That could put a hurtin’ on us really quick.”

House Moving on GMO Labeling

Jul 21, 2015 260

GMO labeling update

The U.S. House this week plans to take up a voluntary labeling system for genetically-engineered foods, something Republicans largely favor, but Democrats may be divided over. Last week the GMO voluntary labeling bill first introduced by Kansas Republican Mike Pompeo easily moved through committee by voice vote.

Just a week later, the bipartisan bill that goes by the acronym “SAFE,” is set for floor action. But some Democrats, including Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, are pushing back.

“Sixty-four other countries have GMO labeling laws and the sky hasn’t fallen in on those countries. Food prices haven’t increased. Consumers haven’t stopped eating GMO foods. Consumers simply know what’s in their food and how it’s produced.”

Other Democrats, including ranking agriculture member Collin Peterson, want to prevent individual states, counties, cities and towns from interfering with interstate commerce.

“The bill gives USDA significant involvement which, given their past successes with the organic program simply makes sense.”

Peterson says surveys show consumers increasingly want to know where their food comes from, and how it’s produced. But he and other agriculture Democrats don’t want GMO foods that are prolific in the nation’s food supply to be ‘stigmatized,’ by a kind of, ‘skull and crossbones’ on food labels. Private and government studies claim GMO foods are safe.

Over in the Senate, Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley says a Senate version of the SAFE Act is in the works under the care of North Dakota Republican John Hoeven.

“And I think he will be able to get enough of an agreement to produce a bill,” Grassley said. “I think he would like to have it be bipartisan if he could, at least if I were doing it I would. And that’s absolutely necessary if we’re going to get a bill through the United States Senate.”

Grassley says he’ll support the GMO bill if it’s similar to last year’s House version. The American Farm Bureau has endorsed this year’s House SAFE Act, for what AFBF says is its effort to show food “quackery” and “pseudoscience” to the door.

Source: NAFB News Service

American Ethanol No. 3 Show Car in Indianapolis this Week

Jul 21, 2015 265

American Ethanol 3CARHoosiers gearing up for an exciting race weekend can see the Richard Childress Racing (RCR) American Ethanol No. 3 show car and learn about ethanol-blended fuels this week at four locations throughout Indianapolis. At select locations, visitors will also have an opportunity to win tickets for this Sunday’s NASCAR race at IMS.

 

Indiana Corn Marketing Council (ICMC) is sponsoring the RCR American Ethanol No. 3 show car appearances as part of their partnership with American Ethanol and NASCAR® to promote American-made ethanol used in all of the NASCAR® racing series.

 

“Through this week’s events, we want to show consumers that the ethanol and ethanol blends we produce in our state are reliable fuel options whether racing around a track or commuting to and from work,” said Ken Parrent, ICMC biofuels director. “We are excited to see Indiana’s corn and racing heritage come together in the days leading up to the race as Hoosiers have an opportunity to see the RCR American Ethanol show car, enter to win race tickets and learn about the benefits of using ethanol-blended fuels.”

 

The RCR American Ethanol No. 3 show car offers fans an up-close opportunity to see and learn about the type of car that is driven in NASCAR® Sprint Cup races. Since 2011, NASCAR® has run on Sunoco® Green E15 Fuel, a blended ethanol fuel that is safe to use in all cars and light duty trucks that were manufactured in 2001 or after.

 

“Indiana ranks fifth in corn production and fourth in ethanol production, with the state’s 14 ethanol plants boasting an annual operating capacity of more than one billion gallons of ethanol,” Parrent said. “The NASCAR® races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend showcase some of the best Indiana has to offer in terms of agriculture and racing, and we want to share that information with consumers.”

 

There are four public opportunities to see the RCR American Ethanol No. 3 show car this week in Indianapolis:

·         Wednesday, July 22 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Ray Skillman Chevrolet (3891 South Post Road, Indianapolis)

o   Hank FM will be broadcasting Noon to 1 p.m. and will be giving away four pairs of race tickets during that time period. Indiana Corn Marketing Council will also be giving away American Ethanol prizes and a $25 fuel card.

·         Thursday, July 23 from Noon-1 p.m. at Emmis Communications on Monument Circle.

o   Hank FM will be broadcasting live and will be giving away four pairs of race tickets during that time period. Indiana Corn Marketing Council will also be giving away American Ethanol prizes and a $25 fuel card.

·         Thursday, July 23 from 2:30-4 p.m. at Speedway (5259 W 10th Street, Indianapolis).

o   Indiana Corn Marketing Council will be giving away American Ethanol prizes and a $25 fuel card.

·         Friday, July 24 from 11 a.m. -2 p.m. at Thorntons (5760 Crawfordsville Road, Speedway).

o   Hank FM will be broadcasting Noon to 1 p.m. and will be giving away four pairs of race tickets during that time period. Thorntons will be offering E85 for $1.99/gallon from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Indiana Corn Marketing Council will also be giving away American Ethanol prizes and a $25 fuel card.

 

Both Speedway and Thorntons have worked with ICMC – the state’s corn checkoff organization – to install Flex Fuel pumps at several of their stations in Indianapolis and across the state to offer their customers ethanol-blended fuel, including E85 for use in Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs).

 

For more information about this week’s RCR American Ethanol No. 3 show car appearances, visit http://www.rcrracing.com/fancentral/showcar.cfm. For more information about ICMC’s ethanol programs, visit www.incorn.org.ethanol.

Source: Indiana Corn