Digest highlights

Senate kicking off 2023 Farm Bill field hearings

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry will kick off field hearings on the 2023 Farm Bill, April 29, 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (Eastern time). The first hearing will be held at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, the home state of U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), committee chair. The hearing will be streamed live here.

Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

According to a release from Stabenow and Sen. John Boozman (R-Arkansas), ranking member on the Senate Ag Committee, the hearing will focus on agriculture, conservation, rural economic development, research, forestry, energy and nutrition policies. Witnesses will be announced prior to the hearing.  

Organic dairy ‘origin of livestock’ rule update

The USDA has released additional information regarding the “origin of livestock” final rule establishing uniform standards for transitioning dairy cattle to organic production.

Initially announced in late March, the rule was published in the Federal Register on April 5 and will become effective on June 6. Certified organic operations must comply with all provisions of the rule by April 5, 2023.

The USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) will oversee the new rule, which in general:

  • Allows a dairy livestock operation transitioning to organic, or starting a new organic farm, to transition non-organic animals one time.
  • Prohibits organic dairies from sourcing any transitioned animals. Once a dairy is certified organic, animals must be managed as organic from the last third of gestation. Variances may be requested by small businesses for specific scenarios.

The NOP will hold an informational webinar, April 20, 1-1:30 p.m. (Eastern time) to provide an overview of the changes the rule makes to the USDA organic regulations and how they may impact organic farms and businesses. To view the webinar (webinar ID: 160 176 9899), click this Zoom link or join by phone: (669) 254-5252 or (646) 828-7666.

The rule closes what many in the industry considered a “loophole” creating unfair organic marketing practices. Read: USDA announces organic dairy ‘origin of livestock’ rule.

Three named to Wisconsin export panel

Three members representing the dairy industry have been named to a newly created Wisconsin Agricultural Export Advisory Council (WAXC). This council will help guide agricultural export efforts through the Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports (WIAE), a collaborative project between the state’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Dairy representatives are: Chad Vincent, CEO, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin; Ryan Wucherer, director of global sales, MCT Dairies; and Jeff Schwager, CEO, Sartori.

DFA announces CoLAB Accelerator program participants

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) selected six startup companies to participate in its 2022 DFA CoLAB Accelerator program. The program is a 90-day collaborative program focused on dairy product and processing innovations and new technologies for dairy farms.

The companies are:

  • Cattle Scan, Guelph, Canada, developing real-time cow health monitoring technology – data can be accessed on a cloud-based platform.

  • The Hago Energetics Company, Camarillo, California, developing technology to convert cattle waste into fuel cell grade hydrogen

  • Lemna, Gilbert, Arizona, investigating use of duckweed (aquatic plants) in an agricultural wastewater/nutrient management system

  • ReproHealth Technologies, Indianapolis, Indiana, developing a device that enhances use of in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology

  • Smack’d, Lehi, Utah, developing a high-protein, low-sugar and caffeinated chocolate milk beverage for the adult market

  • Lyras, Aalborg, Denmark, developing an ultraviolet light (UV) cold pasteurization technology that uses less energy and water compared to traditional pasteurization

Representatives of the companies work with DFA executives from DFA, other relevant investors and dairy industry leaders on finance, business development, distribution and supply chain, product development, brand building, sales and marketing, packaging and pricing.

The 2022 DFA CoLAB Accelerator will culminate with a demonstration day presentation in late June, where the startups will pitch and showcase their ideas.

FDA issues animal drug compounding guidance

The FDA issued final guidance covering animal drug compounding.

Titled “Compounding animal drugs from bulk drug substances,” the guidance describes the agency’s approach to situations where veterinarians use unapproved compounded drugs to provide appropriate care for the medical needs of the diverse species of animals they treat.

The FDA initially released the guidance in 2019 and received comments from veterinarians, pharmacy compounders and other stakeholders. The agency has created a library of tools to help inform stakeholders on details of the policy and will conduct education efforts with affected stakeholders before shifting resources toward inspection activities in fiscal year 2023.

Animal drug compounding is the process of combining, mixing or altering ingredients to create a medication tailored to the needs of an individual animal or a small group of animals. Animal drug compounding using an FDA-approved drug as the starting point is already allowed under existing law and regulations. Animal drugs compounded from bulk drug substances are not FDA-approved, and the agency has not evaluated them to ensure that they are safe, effective, properly manufactured to ensure consistent quality, and the labeling is complete and accurate.

Bill would allow livestock auction investment in small and regional packers

U.S. Reps. Vicky Hartzler (R-Missouri) and Jimmy Panetta (D-California) introduced the Amplifying Processing of Livestock in the United States Act, or the A-PLUS Act.

The bill would allow livestock auction markets to hold an ownership interest in, finance or participate in the management or operation of a packing facility that has a slaughter capacity of less than 1,000 animals per day or 250,000 animals per year.

Proponents say the bill will allow smaller livestock auction companies to invest in a local processing facility to increasing processing capacity for livestock producers in their area.

Currently, livestock auction yards are not allowed to finance or manage processing facilities, a regulation that dates back to terminal livestock markets in the 1900s when there was little separation between buying and selling agents.  end mark