Ag Industry Brief: Trump Signs Ag-Focused Exec Order, Finistere Hires in Israel, Indigo Launches Farmer Partner Program, more

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Sonny Perdue Confirmed as Secretary of Agriculture

This week former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue was sworn in as the 31st Secretary of Agriculture of the US after the Senate voted in favor of his confirmation, 87-11. Now, rumors are circulating that President Trump will hold a farmer roundtable at the White House next week and sign an executive order promoting “rural prosperity” and supporting agriculture. Read more here.

President Trump Signs Agriculture-Focused Executive Order

“Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America” is one of the latest Executive Orders to come from the White House. The order gives the Secretary of Agriculture a mandate to reduce regulations in the industry and to identify ways to promote economic vitality in rural communities. Read more here.

Finistere Ventures Makes Israel Hires

Finistere Ventures has appointed two local investment executives in Israel, referring to the country as a ‘center of excellence.” The firm has appointed Gil Meron (Meirovich) and Eyal Rosenthal as venture partners to work on new agtech investments in the country. Finistere’s current fund – which held a first close on $30 million in February 2015 and is currently on around $60 million of a $150 million target – has made three investments, one of which is Israeli irrigation startup CropX. Finistere investors include Agrium, Bayer, DuPont, and PepsiCo.

Indigo Launches New Initiative to Promote R&D in Agriculture

Indigo, a company producing crop inputs that harness the power of the soil microbiome, has launched Indigo Partners, a collaboration among 25 growers and agronomic experts across the US to evaluate agricultural technologies, including Indigo’s seed microbial seed treatments, on over 15,000 acres. Read more here.

Unravelling the Barley Genome

A ten-nation scientific consortium has reported the first high-quality genome sequence of barley, a development which will assist crop breeders in developing more resilient barley varieties suited to the requirements of the brewing, distilling, food and feed industries. The genome sequence of a crop reveals detailed information on the location, structure, and function of its genes, useful knowledge for the breeding needed to boost crop improvement. Read more here.

Inocucor’s Biological Crop Input is Certified Organic in Canada

The biological crop input Synergro, produced by Inocucor Technologies, received official organic certification for use by Canadian growers from. The approval verifies compliance with Canadian Organic Standards and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program.

Tyson to Drop Three Brands to Focus on Protein Portfolio

Kettle, Van’s, and Sara Lee’ Frozen Bakery brands may soon be up for sale, according to a recent announcement from Tyson. The world’s largest poultry company may be offloading these portfolio companies to focus on its primary protein businesses, which also include pork and beef. Read more here.

Tyson is Considering Higher Wages for Poultry Plant Workers

Tyson also indicated this week that it may increase wages for its poultry plant workers amid a tightening labor market. The company also released a new set of sustainability goals that focus on reducing worker injuries, increasing employee retention, and publicly sharing results from third-party social compliance reports.

Cargill Sells Cattle Feed Yards to Invest Away from Cattle Feeding Ops

Cargill is selling its beef cattle feed yards in Kansas and Colorado to Omaha-based Green Plains Inc., a vertically-integrated ethanol producer that already operates feedyards in Kansas and Texas. Green Plains will continue supplying cattle to Cargill. Read more here.

National Organic Standards Board Votes in Favor of Higher Welfare Standards for Organic Meat and Poultry

The body in charge of creating and regulating standards for the National Organic Program voted unanimously this week to recommend that proposed regulations increasing welfare standards for organic chicken and poultry be adopted immediately. Among other things, the rules would require animals in the certified organic program to be able to exhibit natural behaviors and have access to the outdoors. Read more here.

IFPRI’s Latest Global Food Policy Report Examines Urbanization’s Impact on Food Security

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has released the 2017 Global Food Policy Report, which discusses how urbanization impacts food security and nutrition. The report concludes that our increasing rate of urbanization and conversion of rural lands will put increased pressure on our food system. Read more about the report here.

Other News That’s Fit to Chew

  • New Holland Agriculture has received the World Record Title for the Most Soybeans Harvested within 8 hours using the CR8.90 Series Combine.
  • With the food safety scandals in the rear view, Chipotle may be facing renewed public backlash over a potential data breach, reports CNBC.
  • New York City is trying to create a “Craigslist for food pantries,” reports Civil Eats.
  • DuPont Pioneer launched a new website dedicated to explaining CRISPR Cas-9 and how it can boost agricultural production.
  • Meal kit delivery giant Blue Apron is fighting back against a proposed California food safety law that would require its workers to obtain food safety training, reports BuzzFeed News.
  • The USDA is offering $800,00 to support distance education in Agricultural Sciences.
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