Family Farm and Food Bytes
SOYBEANS HELP TURKEY STAR DURING HOLIDAY SEASON (FarmWeek)- Soybeans are an important part of turkeys’ diets and the favorite holiday bird consumes 15% of all soybean meal crushed from Illinois soybeans, according to the Illinois Soybean Association. In addition, odds are that soybean meal, oil and play-based ingredients will be in many foods featured on dinner tables.
IS THE TIPPING POINT COMING FOR PLANT-BASED FOOD OPTIONS? (Forbes) - Recent months have seen a substantial increase in fast food and casual dining restaurants offering plant-based meat options, including offerings from companies such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Taco. The degree to which this market will continue to grow is still an open question, but there is little doubt that the past year has seen such brands move more into the mainstream.
CORN BELT FARMERS FACE PROPANE CRUNCH (DTN) –Farmers across the Corn Belt are running into supply bottlenecks at a time when they can ill afford to wait. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration declared a regional emergency in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Governors in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin issued emergency declarations to lift restrictions on carriers for the transportation of heating fuel, including propane.
HOLIDAY CHOCOLATE CUSTARD MILK (FarmWeek)- Prairie Farms has added Chocolate Custard to its holiday season line of milk flavors. Others include chocolate mint, sugar cookie, maple pecan, pumpkin spice, eggnog and custard. The Prairie Farms’ holiday lineup is made with classic recipes that blend locally produced milk, cream, sugar and egg yolks with just the right amount of spices.
COLORED CORN SOURCES OF NATURAL FOOD DYES (FarmWeek). With consumers insisting on more all-natural ingredients, natural food dyes have been expensive and hard to come by. However, a University of Illinois projects aims to fill the gap with colored corn. A U of I team has been experimenting on blue and purple corn varieties in which the outer layer is used for pigments and the remainder can be used for ethanol, grits, livestock feed or other products corn is already used for.
STUDY: FRESH PRODUCE EFFECT OF GM LABELING LAW (Cornell) - Consumers are more willing to buy unlabeled produce after seeing food labeled as genetically modified in a new Cornell University study, according to the Cornell Chronicle. USDA will begin implementing the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard on Jan. 1. that requires labels denoting genetically modified (GM) organism on food products. The researchers’ goal was to glimpse consumers’ reaction to conventional products when the labeling takes effect.
In the study, 1,300 consumers were randomly shown GM, non-GM and unlabeled opportunities to buy apples, as well as other fruits and vegetables. When presented an unlabeled apple first, the initial consumer response was 65.2% willingness to buy. But if the unlabeled apple was shown after an individual saw an apple with a GM label, the consumer’s willingness to buy an unlabeled apple increased to 77.7%.
If presented with a non-GM labeled apple first, the consumer was 67.2% willing to buy, considered statistically even with the percentage willing to buy unlabeled products. “In other words, the ‘non-GM’ label is not stigmatizing the unlabeled product,” Gómez said. The researchers admitted they were surprised by the study’s results. They had anticipated a non-GM label would have a stigmatizing effect on unlabeled fresh products.
CONGRESS’ BEEF WITH PLANT-BASED COMPANIES USING THE WORD “MEAT” (Quartz) – The biggest beef lobbying group in the United States is backing new legislation in Congress that would stop popular plant-based meat alternative companies—including Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods—from using the word “meat” to describe their products. The bipartisan legislation was proposed by House representatives Anthony Brindisi and Roger Marshall.
CONSUMERS CONFUSED ABOUT CBD (FarmWeek) - Research by the Grocery Manufacturers Association shows most American consumers don’t know what cannabidiol (CBD) is, what it does or whether all products made with CBDs are safe to eat. Of those surveyed, 39% said they believe CBD is another name for marijuana and 51% think that CBD can intoxicate individuals who use it. In addition, 92% of consumers incorrectly assume or have no idea if the federal government regulates CBD.
SUMMIT TO FOCUS ON HEMP PRODUCTION (Journal Courier) – The Illinois Department of Agriculture will host a summit to discuss hemp production and address questions raised by farmers following the release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s hemp rules. The summit, Dec. 17 on the Illinois State Fairgrounds, will include three panels, with hemp benchmarks being the final presentation of the day. It is ticketed event. The registration fee is $25 and includes lunch. Space is limited, and registration will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis.
IDOT SEEKS FARMER, LANDOWNER INPUT ON SNOW FENCE SURVEY - Survey results will help the research team determine fair compensation to offer private landowners who participate in a snow fencing contract. Blowing and drifting snow have long had negative impacts on winter roadway safety, mobility and maintenance. Negative impacts include hazardous driving conditions, continuous plowing needs, excessive use of chemicals, infrastructure damage, increased traveling user costs, such as travel delay, vehicle corrosion and more. IDOT is considering three types of snow fencing; a living snow fencing, such as trees, shrubs or a combination of both; structural snow fencing and standing corn rows.
SEASONAL SNOWPLOW DRIVERS SOUGHT (FarmWeek) - The Illinois Department of Transportation needs qualified individuals for seasonal positions to help with snow and ice removal across the state. Applicants must have a commercial driver’s license and submit to a criminal background check. A pre-employment physical, vision testing and drug and alcohol screening are also required. For additional information, visit bit.ly/SeasonalSnowplowDrivers.
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.