Family Farm and Food Byte
LONGER LASTING AVOCADOS? (Chicago Tribune) – A new technology that extends the life of avocados and other produce is coming soon to grocery stores nationwide. Apeel Sciences, a California startup that aims to reduce food waste by giving produce a spoilage-resistant skin, announced that its longer-lasting avocados will be sold at more than 1,100 Kroger grocery stores across the country. Avocados treated with Apeel’s protective coating tend to achieve ideal ripeness for four to six days – double the regular window of two to three days.
SOYBEANS FEATURED IN SUSTAINABLE HOME PRODUCTS (FarmWeek) - There are more than 1000 soy-based home products currently on the market, from flooring and roofing products to candles and carpets. Several leading bio-based home products using soybeans include PureBond plywood, Roof Maxx (a roof regenerating spray treatment), Rust-Oleum wood stain, Acri-Soy sealers (for concrete, wood and grout), and Demilec Heatlok Soy 200 Plus insulation. To learn more about soy-based products, visit www.unitedsoybean.org/topics/new–uses
USDA INVESTS $11M IN RESEARCH THAT WILL SUPPORT SPECIALTY CROP FARMERS (USDA)- U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary Scott Hutchins announced that the National Institute of Food and Agriculture has invested $11 million in research that will support specialty crop farmers.
EAT LESS RED MEAT, SCIENTISTS SAID. NOW SOME BELIEVE THAT WAS BAD ADVICE (New York Times) – Public health officials for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other illnesses. But recently, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence. If there are health benefits from eating less beef and pork, they are small, the researchers concluded. The advantages are so faint that they can be discerned only when looking at large populations, National Cattlemen's Beef Association photo the scientists said, and are not sufficient to tell individuals to change their meat-eating habits.
NEW COTTAGE CHEESE SNACK (FarmWeek)- Prairie Farms Dairy has added a new, 5ounce Small Batch Cottage Cheese cups to provide a delicious and nutritious single- serve snack anytime of the day. The product includes flavors like Zesty Fiesta, Garden Veggie, Pineapple, Strawberry and Peach and can be found at area retail and food service stores.
U.S. WIDENS TRADE WAR WITH TARIFFS ON EUROPEAN PLANES, CHEESE, WHISKY (Reuters) – The U.S. said it would slap 10% tariffs on European-made Airbus planes and 25% duties on French wine, Scotch and Irish whiskies, and cheese from across the continent as punishment for illegal EU aircraft subsidies. The announcement came after the World Trade Organization gave Washington a green light to impose tariffs on $7.5 billion worth of EU goods annually in the long-running case.
FORMER AGRICULTURE SECRETARIES ANNOUNCE SUPPORT FOR USMCA (USDA) – All former U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture since President Reagan’s Administration announced support for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). In a letter to Congressional leaders, former Secretaries John Block (Reagan), Mike Espy (Clinton), Dan Glickman (Clinton), Ann Veneman (W. Bush), Mike Johanns (W. Bush), Ed Shafer (W. Bush), and Tom Vilsack (Obama) underscored the importance of passing USMCA.
IFB APPLAUDS SIGNING OF US-JAPAN DEAL (FarmWeekNow) - The agreement immediately eliminates all tariffs on U.S. exports of sweet corn, almonds, broccoli and prunes, among other things. Other tariffs on products such as ethanol, cheese and whey, fresh cherries, and other farm and ranch products will be phased out over a number of years. The U.S. will also benefit from increased export quotas on products such as corn starch, malt, potato starch, fructose, and more.
Within days of taking office, President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, (TPP) which has since been signed without the United States. “This is about 55 billion dollars’ worth of trade,” said US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer . “With this, we’ll have more than 95% of the GDP that would have been in TPP. So, it’s very important for farmers. It’s also important for digital trade.”
FOOD, FARM FACTS BOOK/CARD GAMES (FarmWeek) -The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has produced a new Food and Farm Facts book, map and pocket guide. The booklet helps answer the questions “Where does our food come from?” and “Who grows it?” It features 32 pages of full-color features including updated facts and easy to read infographics. Copies of the booklet sell for $4.25 each and can be ordered at
The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has also released two new card games making learning about agriculture fun for children. Natural Resources Playing Cards (3rd - 5th grade) highlight the role of agriculture in feeding and clothing people around the world.
(FFASF) – Over the last 70 years, U.S. farms have nearly tripled in production while the amount of resources used (including land, energy and fertilizer) has remained rather stable. (Keep in mind that’s 2% of the population doing all that work.)DID YOU KNOW?
GROWERS SHOULD GET STARTED SOONER RATHER THAN LATER ON FSMA REQUIREMENTS (FarmWeekNow)- Under the produce safety rule, FDA inspections will focus on conditions and practices that are potential factors in microbial contamination, including water, equipment, tools, and buildings.
Specialty growers Austin Flamm, left, discusses Flamm Orchards’ food safety processes with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Inspector Theresa Klaman as Flamm employees pick zucchini near Cobden, IL during a recent onsite inspection seminar. Flamm emphasizes the importance and time-consuming tasks required to comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) produce rules. “If you think you do have to comply,” Flamm warned fellow specialty growers, “you need to get started sooner rather than later because it will take more than you think.” He highlighted water treatment and testing as one example. All water, whether used for spraying on crops, irrigation, washing, rinsing, storing -– or even ice for produce storage –- must be treated, tested and that all must be documented, according to Flamm. “Water (compliance) is a full-time job on our farm,” Flamm said.
LENDING AND FARM PROGRAM RESOURCE GUIDE FOR VETERANS RELEASED (Brainerd Dispatch) – As millions of acres are expected to change hands over the next few years, many Americans are thinking about who the next generation of producers will be. Veterans could step in to fill the need, according to a white paper released by the Center for Rural Affairs. The white paper highlights the needs of America’s next generation of producers, which includes people who served their country and are now pursuing a second career in agriculture. It outlines farm programs specifically targeting beginning and veteran farmers and ranchers, including FSA loan programs and NRCS programs.
About Family Farm and Food Bytes: This is a collection of articles gathered from both mainstream and agriculture media and is designed to keep you informed as a member and leader within the Cook County Farm Bureau organization. The articles summarized above are not intended to represent Cook County Farm Bureau policy or positions, but rather to provide members an idea of what is being reported regionally, nationally, and globally.