Introduction: This is the first in a regular series of top 5 things to take away from today's food and ag news, including local and national developments. I won't say most important. That would be foolish.
1. Cargill profits drop 20 percent (Star Tribune)
- Factors like trade and industry-specific problems combined to reduce the company's profits from $924M to $741M in its latest quarterly report.
- Revenue was $28B, which is down 4 percent.
- A growing appetite for meat around the world is good for Cargill, which sells most of its grain to feed livestock.
- Article cites a "challenged dairy industry." Feels like an understatement... or no statement at all. Not sure which "challenges" its supposed to refer to. People's shrinking interest in cow's milk? Prices? Oversupply?
2. Gov.-elect Tim Walz names new Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner – Thom Peterson (MPR)
- Peterson was the head of government relations for the Minnesota Farmers Union and helped me with several stories thanks to the many, many years he spent working on ag policy at the Legislature.
3. Changing the rules on livestock farm air emissions reporting (Grist | New Food Economy)
- Congress, President actions exempt large livestock operations from reporting their air emissions – something the livestock industry has lobbied for over 10 years.
- A coalition of groups including Food & Water Watch, the Humane Society and others, led by Earthjustice, filed a lawsuit against the EPA, saying the changes will impact health and environment.
- Two laws at issue: Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), which mandated that farms tell emergency response committees about spills, leaks, or other hazardous waste discharges, which includes farm waste products (ammonia and hydrogen sulfide) over 100 pounds – a standard that many farms don't reach.
- How they changed them: Congress passed the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act in March, exempting farms from reporting air emissions under CERCLA. The EPA's proposed rules under EPCRA makes the same exemption.
- Industry groups listed: U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, National Pork Producers Council, American Farm Bureau Federation, and National Cattlemena's Beef Association
4. New Food Economy revisits 2018's most contentious food stories
- Why that's a cool idea for a year-end wrap up: We forget to go back! It's so important to follow up and keep following up, if necessary.
5. The biggest food recall of 2018 is one you still haven't heard of (New Food Economy)
- What a good find. I don't know why I don't ever think much about food recalls, but it's the point at which most people realize the food system has an issue.
- "A plant's entire output was called into question." 100M pounds!