Views on the News: Exports Dominate the News, and Another Train Derailment
Plus, Chipotle makes a new video
The top stories for the week of Feb. 17 are …
- Two Hurt in Derailment at CHS Grain Elevator in Lowder, IL
- China Dumps Grain Policy to Boost Meat Production
- Canada Eyes Animal Feed as Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus Spreads
- Cargill to Reject for Export Crops with New GMO Syngenta Corn
- AFIA Releases Statement Regarding Chipotles Farmed and Dangerous
A rail spur on the track at a CHS Inc. caused an empty Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway train to derail, injuring two workers. The falling cars broke the supports under the facility’s control room, forcing employees to evacuate both it and the surrounding area. The two injured employees were hurt as they escaped the control room. During the bedlam, a loading boom spilled 100,000 bushels of corn, estimated to be worth around $400,000. CHS Inc. has started an investigation into the accident, but an official statement noted that the safety of its employees was their first concern.
It’s no secret that China’s demand for meat is increasing. As more of the population is elevated to the middle class, they are demanding more of the luxuries in life — which includes access to meat. China was finding it impossible to fill that demand while trying to be self-sufficient in grain production. The government has announced that it will stop trying to have both, and will be scaling back annual grain production targets. This will free up land to grow more valuable crops for China, while also freeing up chances for exports for nations better suited to grow the grains need to feed livestock.
Little is known about the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) other than that it is hard to eradicate, spreads quickly and has killed somewhere between 1 million and 4 million pigs in under a year. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will be testing to see it the virus was accidentally aided in crossing the border by plasma for feed, sourced from the United States. The dissension was made after research was made available from Kansas State University recommending replacing porcine-based products in diets.
For the past several months, China has been rejecting shipments of corn from the United States due to a trait from Syngenta that they have not approved. So far, this has caused more than 650,000 tons of corn to be turned away at Chinese's ports. Another Syngenta trait called Duracade was approved by the U.S. last year, and helps fight rootworms. The trait has not been approved by China or the European Union. Companies learned the lesson from year, and both Cargill and Bunge have already stated that they will not be accepting crops with this new trait for export. The National Grain and Feed Association and North American Export Grain Association have asked for Duracade to be taken off the market until this mess was sorted out, but Syngenta refused, citing that farmers need new technology.
Chipotle is at it again. After the success of its short animated film “Scarecrow,” Chipotle has once more decided to skew the facts behind modern farming in a mini-series on Hulu called “Farmed and Dangerous.” Under the disguise of satire and “encouraging a discussion on how our food is made,” Chipotle is attacking agriculture in an effort to target health conscious mothers and millennials, both of which are key demographics and show to care a great deal about where their food comes from. It helps that these are the groups that are more likely to watch Hulu. The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and most groups in agriculture have come out in opposition to the series, displaying disappointment to downright anger over the project. Sadly, Chipotle does not seem willing to look at both sides of the argument, and it will be up to everyone in modern agriculture to take part in presenting our side of the story.
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