The Weekly Grind – July 25, 2014July 25, 2014
NAMA ATTENDS WIA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING
NAMA Chairman Jim Meyer, Italgrani U.S.A., Inc., and President and CEO Jim McCarthy participated in an Executive Committee meeting of the Wheat Innovation Alliance (WIA) this week in Washington, DC at the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) office. During the meeting, the Executive Committee elected Meyer as chairman of WIA and NAWG President Paul Penner as secretary-treasurer. A number of topics were discussed through out the meeting, including an industry forum that will take place this fall.
NAMA ATTENDS USBCA DOMESTIC WORKING GROUP MEETING
NAMA President and CEO Jim McCarthy and Director of Government Relations Sherri Lehman attended a two-day meeting of the US Biotech Crops Alliance (USBCA) Working Group in which NAMA is a member. The Alliance reviewed the reports of the three task forces on risk assessment, risk management, and risk mitigation and responsibility and will meet again in September to discuss and coordinate these areas further.
Last week, USBCA held a reception in conjunction with the Global Attaché Roundtable to provide members with information on the mission of USBCA and how they can be used as a significant resource in biotech. McCarthy, along with International Trade Consultant Paul Green, were able to attend the reception and had the opportunity to meet with USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Attaché‘s in the various US embassies and were able to introduce USBCA to FAS officials.
BOROUGHS ATTENDS WQC WHEAT TOUR
NAMA’s Director of Regulatory and Technical Affairs Ben Boroughs attended the Wheat Quality Council’s (WQC) wheat tour in Fargo, ND this week. The WQC is a coordinated effort by plant breeders, farmers, and food processors to improve the quality of wheat and flour. The tour is primarily for government statisticians and representatives of millers and other companies involved in the wheat industry. This year, the region’s average spring wheat yield is estimated at 48.6 bushels per acre, compared with the tour’s estimate of 44.9 bushels per acre for the 2013 crop.
MCCARTHY ATTENDS BREAKFAST FEATURING SENATOR JERRY MORAN
NAMA President and CEO attended a breakfast this week featuring Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas. Senator Moran is Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and is coordinating Republican support for candidates in the upcoming November elections and urged companies to get out the vote this year.
BOROUGHS ATTENDS AOWC IN OTTAWA
Director of Regulatory and Technical Affairs Ben Boroughs traveled to Ottawa, Ontario last week to participate in the American Oat Workers Conference. The AOWC is held every four years, alternating between Canada and the United States and is an opportunity for members of the global oat research, breeding, and milling community to advance oat improvement and culture in North America and the world. Besides hearing updates on the latest oat research, Boroughs and other NAMA members met with researchers and associated stakeholders to discuss next steps for data generated by the CORE oat research project. NAMA is working with the Prairie Oat Growers Association of Canada (POGA) to efficiently distribute oat genetic marker data, maximizing the return on past research investments and encouraging the application of state of the art genomic technology to oat breeding. Conference participants also toured AAFC’s Central Experiment Farm (ECORC) and evaluated yield plots. NAMA members General Mills, Quaker/Pepsico, Grain Millers, and Richardson are key sponsors of the AOWC.
DGAC HOLDS 4TH PUBLIC MEETING
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) held its fourth public meeting July 17-18, 2014, in which NAMA’s Director of Government Relations Sherri Lehman participated. Opening the meeting, Chair Barbara Millen explained that Subcommittee presentations would include conclusion statements graded on the strength of evidence (strong, moderate, limited, grade not assignable; based on pre-defined criteria). The Chair further stated that Subcommittee reports might also include implication statements intended to put conclusions in context and making them actionable. These will form the basis of what the DGAC ultimately advises the government to recommend, she said. There was much praise for increasing consumption of whole grains, and calls to limit consumption of enriched grains though a Subcommittee member pointed out the value of grains enriched with vitamins and folic acid. The Committee confirmed that the target date for the completion of their report remains the end of the calendar year.
NEW AG RESEARCH BOARD LAUNCHED
Feedstuffs, July 24, 2014
The first step in getting the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research up and running is complete with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s appointment of its 15-member board of directors on July 23. The new foundation will leverage public and private resources to increase the scientific and technological research, innovation, and partnerships critical to boosting America’s agricultural economy. Authorized by Congress as part of the 2014 Farm Bill, the foundation will operate as a non-profit corporation seeking and accepting private donations in order to fund research activities that focus on problems of national and international significance. Congress also provided $200 million for the foundation, which must be matched by non-federal funds as the Foundation identifies and approves projects. To view the entire Feedstuffs article, visit http://feedstuffs.com/story-new-ag-research-board-launched-45-115497.
GMO LABELING INITIATIVE QUALIFIES FOR OREGON BALLOT
Statesman Journal, By Anna Staver, July 24, 2014
Oregonians will decide in November whether they want to mandate that companies label genetically modified foods. The Secretary of State’s Office Wednesday certified 118,780 signatures — well above the 87,213 needed to qualify for the 2014 ballot. “In only six weeks, we were able to collect more than 31,500 signatures more than the number needed to qualify,” said Sandeep Kaushik, campaign spokesman for Oregon Right to Know. “That is a powerful indication that Oregonians understand that protecting the profits of chemical conglomerates and agribusiness giants should not take precedence over the public’s right to know what is in the food they eat and feed their families.” To view the entire Statesman Journal article, visit http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/politics/elections/2014/07/23/gmo-labeling-initiative-qualifies-oregon-ballot/13048771/.
USDA TAKING OVER FLOUR PRODUCTION SURVEY, REPORT
Bakingbusiness.com, By Josh Sosland, July 18, 2014
The collection and dissemination of U.S. flour production data will transition in coming months to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a spokesperson for the U.S.D.A. said. This will replace, probably at the start of 2015, the flour output data that has been gathered for the past several years by the North American Millers’ Association through Veris Consulting, Inc. The National Agricultural Statistics Service, the U.S.D.A. arm that publishes Crop Production, Grain Stocks and many other key reports, will launch its Current Agricultural Industry Report (CAIR) focused on flour milling.
To view the entire bakingbusiness.com article, visit http://www.bakingbusiness.com/articles/news_home/Business/2014/07/USDA_taking_over_flour_product.aspx?ID=%7B5C7201E2-935B-49E3-ABFA-60BC0597E653%7D.
SCIENTISTS UNLOCK THE GENETIC SECRETS OF BREAD WHEAT
Washington Post, By Rachel Feltman, July 17, 2014
Scientists announced Thursday that they are approaching a milestone in humanity’s ability to improve bread wheat. One of the most common and most versatile crops on the planet — the main food staple for a third of the world population — wheat is remarkably good at adapting to change. But efforts to grow higher yielding, more nutritious and more resilient wheat in response to population growth and climate change have been slow for one simple reason. Its genes are a big, complicated mess. Many scientists thought that it would be impossible to map the genome of wheat — to figure out how its genes are ordered so that specific traits can be more quickly identified. But a group made up of scientists, breeders and growers say that they’re more than halfway there and that an entire sequence is on the horizon.
To view the entire Washington Post article, visithttp://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/scientists-unlock-the-genetic-secrets-of-bread-wheat/2014/07/17/8ee5768a-0dc9-11e4-8341-b8072b1e7348_story.html.
GENERAL MILLS OPENS BIG INNOVATION CENTER IN CHINA
Star Tribune, By Mike Hughlett, July 15, 2014
General Mills Tuesday unveiled its first innovation and technology center in China, one of the packaged food giant’s most important markets. The $15 million project is the first major General Mills technical center outside of the company’s headquarters in Golden Valley. It has smaller technical centers in France, Brazil and India. General Mills CEO Ken Powell is in China today for the inauguration of the new facility. “Our new technical center in Shanghai provides General Mills a tremendous opportunity to accelerate growth in the greater China region,” Powell said in a press statement. China is a key growth market for packaged food makers. General Mills is particularly strong in ice cream in China with its Haagen-Dazs brand, and also is big in frozen dinners with under the Wanchai Ferry banner. To view the entire Star Tribune article, visit http://www.startribune.com/blogs/267181211.html.