Archived Posts

News Flash: August 20, 2015

INDUSTRY

G.M.A. weighs in on G.M.O. labeling and the D.G.A.

The most important issue currently facing the Grocery Manufacturers Association is piecemeal state and local efforts to require the labeling of food and beverage products that are formulated using ingredients from genetically modified sources. “It is our biggest priority,” said Pamela Bailey, president and chief executive officer of the G.M.A., in an interview with Food Business News. The labeling battle is being waged on two fronts. First, the G.M.A. and several other industry groups are embroiled in a lawsuit with the state of Vermont, which has passed and is in the process of implementing a state law that would require the labeling of products made with G.M.O.s beginning on July 1, 2016. Food Business News

BIOFUEL

Biochemist studies oilseed plants for biofuel, industrial development

A Kansas State University biochemistry professor has reached a milestone in building a better biofuel: producing high levels of lipids with modified properties in oil seeds. Timothy Durrett, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics in the College of Arts & Sciences, and collaborators at Michigan State University and the University of Nebraska, Lincoln have modified Camelina sativa — a nonfood oilseed crop — and produced the highest levels of modified seed lipids to date. By modifying the oilseed biochemistry in camelina, the researchers have achieved very high levels of an oil with reduced viscosity and improved cold temperature characteristics. SeedQuest

CANOLA

Australia – Northern canola production hits new milestone

Canola production information in New South Wales and Queensland reached a new milestone today with the release of the first northern-specific agronomic information to help growers bolster crop yields and returns. The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Canola GrowNote website was officially launched today at the Commonwealth Bank AgQuip Field Days by GRDC northern panel chair James Clark who said it offered several innovative new features to improve navigation and cater for a variety of learning styles. SeedQuest

CORN

China signals market reforms on corn; details and timing undetermined

China’s National Development and Reform Commission announced recently the country will move to a more market-oriented pricing mechanism on corn procurement. Market-oriented reforms in China’s corn sector have been discussed for several years, and while there are outspoken advocates of market liberalization in China, there has also been significant resistance to reforming this policy. The NDRC is China’s top economic management agency and reports directly to the State Council. While details are yet to be disclosed, the announcement of a policy shift by NDRC is a potentially important signal that China may be prepared to rebalance its trade distorting policies on corn. High Plains Journal

PALM

Italian politicians defend palm oil

Italian politicians have submitted two resolutions to parliament defending palm oil in the face of anti-palm oil campaigns, calling it a raw material of fundamental importance for Italian industry. Palm oil have come under attack in Italy and elsewhere due to its links with deforestation in Southeast Asia, loss of habitats and biodiversity, and high levels of saturated fat. Politicians and NGOs such as II Fatto Alimentare have spearheaded anti-palm oil sentiment. Food Navigator

Modi to bet $1.5 billion on palm oil plan as imports surge

India plans to spend $1.5 billion in the next three years to help farmers grow oil palm trees in an area the size of New Jersey, government sources said, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi pushing to make the nation self-sufficient in edible oils this decade. Modi is targeting India’s $10 billion import bill for edible oils, its third-highest overseas spend after oil and gold, and has already been considering buying oilseeds directly from farmers and boosting government support for growing rapeseed, soybeans and peanuts. A successful Indian push into palm cultivation would drag on international markets for the commodity, hitting Indonesia and Malaysia as they are currently the only major growers of the crop. Reuters

SOYBEAN

U.S. soybeans lap projected demand

Even though last week’s U.S. Department of Agriculture World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates and Crop Production reports are bearish overall, the Iowa Soybean Association and oilseed experts say there are positives in the marketplace, which may benefit farmers long-term. U.S. soybean production this year is projected at 3.92 billion bushels, up 31 million bushels from last month, according to the reports. That’s 500,000 bushels less than 2014’s record crop. The average yield is estimated at 46.9 bushels per acres, 0.9 bushel above July’s estimate. Iowa’s soybean harvest is projected at 515 million bushels, averaging 52 bushels per acre. Agri-View