Hangups continue in West Coast port talks

The West Coast port dispute continues to wreak havoc on US exports of goods. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the backlog is having an impact on the economy, especially the ag economy.  He told reporters at USDA’s Ag Outlook Forum Thursday that the dispute is now less about wages and benefits, and more about an arbitrator.  “And… Read more »

Free Trade Agreements benefit ag industry

While global demand for agricultural goods is growing, so is competition among suppliers.  USDA Foreign Agricultural Services Administrator Philip Karsting was in Indiana this week to talk with members of Indiana’s agricultural community about the significance of Free Trade Agreements to America’s farmers, the agriculture industry, and its international trading partners.  “They want an environment… Read more »

FAS Administrator talks trade in Indiana

During a meeting with members of Indiana’s ag industry, USDA Foreign Agricultural Services Administrator Phil Karsting told attendees Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) needs to be renewed because it is a critical tool used in successfully negotiating free trade agreements. “Having Trade Promotion Authority strengthens our negotiators,” he says.  “As you can imagine, in any negotiation,… Read more »

GDT increases 10 percent

Another solid gain in global dairy prices. The bi-monthly Global Dairy Trade auction on Tuesday saw the overall index jump 10.1 percent.  While no lactose or sweet whey powder was offered, prices were higher for the other seven products offered. Cheddar cheese increased 16.8 percent over the February 3rd auction, whole milk powder was 13.7… Read more »

South Korea reacts to Canada BSE case

South Korea reportedly has stopped imports of Canadian beef after Canada announced late last week an isolated case of BSE was found in one cow. It was Canada’s first case of BSE since 2011. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the animal did not enter the human or animal food chain. South Korea’s agriculture ministry… Read more »

Labor Secretary to tackle port problem

The White House is sending U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez to California to try to break the impasse between port operators and longshore workers on the West Coast. The situation has worsened in recent weeks. Vessel loading and unloading operations were suspended the past two weekends because port operators say they cannot afford to pay… Read more »

Congressional leaders not happy with WIPO

Leaders of the Senate Finance and Judiciary Committees and the House Judiciary and Ways and Means Committees have sent a letter to the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization. The WIPO is in the process of expanding the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin.  Appellations of origin offer stringent and… Read more »

A look at Europe and GM crops

Genetically Modified soybeans may gain some ground in Europe. A German study last fall – funded by German government and university research – found that GM crops are good for the economy and reduce the amount of pesticides used in agriculture. Jim Sutter, CEO of the U.S. Soybean Export Council, USSEC, says Europe does IMPORT… Read more »

BSE confirmed in Canadian cow

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed a case of BSE in a beef cow from the province of Alberta. Officials says no part of the animal’s carcass entered the human food or animal feed systems. BSE is a progressive, fatal neurological disease in cattle. Canada’s last confirmed BSE case was reported in 2011. A… Read more »

Record year for Wisconsin ag exports

Wisconsin agricultural exports hit a record $3.7 billion in 2014; a 13.6 percent increase over 2013 and the fifth consecutive annual increase. Exports of dairy and dairy derivatives from the Badger State totaled $479 million last year up 2 percent from 2013. Miscellaneous food exports increased 17 percent to $369 million, beverage exports including ethanol… Read more »