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Association News - Winter 2005
NGFA, PFI Commend FDA for Proposed Changes to BSE-Prevention Feed Rule

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and the Pet Food Institute (PFI) recently commended the FDA for proposing to strengthen its existing feed regulations designed to prevent bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The organizations commended the FDA for proposing to ban brain and spinal cord from cattle 30 months or older from all animal feed, calling it the “single most effective and science-based way to further reduce the already extremely low risk of BSE in North America.”

“From a science, risk-assessment, and animal and human health standpoint, it makes eminent sense to remove potential infectivity at the top of the animal feed pyramid, making ruminant-based animal protein inherently safe at its source,” the NGFA and PFI said in a joint statement. “It also reduces or eliminates altogether the need for additional downstream regulatory controls that are burdensome and difficult and costly to enforce.”

While both organizations indicated they would be reviewing the FDA-proposed rule in greater detail in the next several weeks, the NGFA and PFI said that defining brain and spinal cord from cattle 30 months or older as “specified risk material” to be removed from all animal feed is appropriate for the North American market. As reasons, they cited the 99-percent-plus compliance with FDA’s existing BSE-prevention feed regulations (which the agency itself has termed “extraordinary”) and the implementation of other BSE-prevention firewalls, including bans on at-risk animal tissues from countries that have experienced BSE.

They also noted the findings of the enhanced BSE surveillance and testing program being conducted by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service which, as of October 2, had tested more than 484,618 higher-risk U.S. cattle and detected only one native-born case of BSE. That BSE-positive animal was born before the United States implemented its BSE-prevention feed regulations.

The NGFA and PFI stressed that human health already has been protected by actions previously implemented by USDA and FDA. Those actions include a ban on all SRMs from human food, dietary supplements and cosmetics, as well as prohibitions on certain slaughter-stunning practices.

The NGFA and PFI reiterated their support for the continued use of animal proteins – including ruminant-derived material – as safe, nutritious and wholesome feed ingredients for species for which they are legally approved, and as an environmentally and economically sound practice.

The NGFA and PFI previously had urged FDA to reject other measures that it had considered earlier because they would have minimal, if any, impact on further reducing BSE risk and would be unfeasible, costly and/or extremely difficult to enforce. These included such concepts as requiring feed mills that manufacture feed for multiple species, including ruminants, to use dedicated plants, equipment, production lines and transportation if they handle mammalian-based feed ingredients prohibited from being fed to cattle or other ruminants. While the NGFA has recommended dedicated facilities as a voluntary best-management practice for feed mills, it noted that it is impractical for some facilities which have chosen instead to use the clean-out procedures authorized by FDA under its 1997 BSE-prevention feed rule. FDA also earlier had considered banning the use of restaurant plate waste and poultry litter feeding to ruminants.

Both PFI and the NGFA also reiterated their support for government-based inspection and enforcement of FDA’s BSE-prevention feed regulations. They said they do not support the U.S. government requiring the use of (or relying in lieu of government oversight upon) non-governmental, third-party certification of regulated facilities or feed products for compliance with the BSE-prevention feed rule.

Agriculture River Recovery Fund Receives Tens of Thousands

As of mid October, organizers of the Agriculture River Recovery Fund already received more than $200,000 in charitable donations and confirmed pledges to aid agriculture industry employees and their families who have been displaced and who have had their lives and livelihoods disrupted by Hurricane Katrina.

The fund drive, which was launched October 3, was being extended to October 31 at the request of companies, organizations, foundations, associations and individuals who expressed an interest in contributing to the fund.

The fund was spearheaded by a wide range of individuals and businesses involved in U.S. and international agriculture, including the grain and grain-related industries. Tax-deductible charitable contributions are being used to supplement the financial resources of personnel and their families from grain elevators and supporting service industries in the New Orleans, La., and Mobile, Ala., regions who have suffered personal loss or injury, been displaced and/or suffered economic hardship as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

Several categories of suggested donation levels for both individuals and businesses have been established. The Archer Daniels Midland Co., Decatur, Ill. is providing $50,000 in support for the fund.Additional contributions from businesses at the “benefactors” level (exceeding $25,000) were made by Bunge North America Inc., St. Louis, Mo., and Rabobank International, New York, N.Y.
A $15,000 contribution from Netherlands-headquartered Nidera Handelscompagnie B.V., made through its Chicago & Illinois River Marketing LLC based in Chicago, Ill., leads businesses pledged at the “sponsor” level (between $10,001 and $25,000). Other businesses supporting the fund at the sponsor level include the Chicago Board of Trade Foundation, Chicago, Ill.; CoBank, Denver, Colo.; Louis Dreyfus Corp., Stamford, Conn.; the Scoular Foundation, Omaha, Neb.; and Syngenta Seeds Inc., Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Contributions from businesses at the “neighbors” level (up to $10,000) were made by the Association of American Warehouse Control Officials, St. Paul, Minn.; Arent Fox PLLC, Washington, D.C.; Bay State Milling Co., Quincy, Mass.; Cereal Byproducts Company/Milwaukee Grain & Feed, Mt. Prospect, Ill.; Columbia Grain International, Portland, Ore.; Danvers Farmers Elevator, Danvers, Ill.; Degesch America Inc., Weyers Cave, Va.; J.D. Heiskell & Co., Tulare, Calif.; Kansas Wheat Commission, Manhattan, Kan.; Kansas City Board of Trade, Kansas City, Mo.; Kenton Grain Co., Kenton, Tenn.; Kottke Associates LLC, Chicago, Ill.; Michigan Agricultural Commodities Inc., Lansing, Mich.; Minneapolis Grain Exchange Inc., Minneapolis, Minn.; Minnesota Grain and Feed Association, Minneapolis, Minn.; Mitsui & Co., New York, N.Y.; the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, Washington, D.C.; Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association, Enid, Okla.; Oklahoma Agricultural Retailers Association, Enid, Okla.; Pasternak, Baum & Co., Greenwich, Conn.; Ritzville Warehouse/Odessa Trading Co., Ritzville, Wash.; and Sosland Companies, Kansas City, Mo.
Paul Fribourg of New York, N.Y., made a $15,000 commitment to the fund to become the first individual to contribute at the “leader” level (above $10,000). Contributors at the “captains” level ($1,000 to $10,000) include: Kyd and Carla Brenner, Washington, D.C.; R. Jeffery Smith, Larchmont, N.Y.; The Amstutz Foundation, Washington, D.C.; Paul and Jacqueline Krug, Hinsdale, Ill.; and Tatsuya Noguchi of Mitsui & Co., New York, N.Y.

Contributions at the “friends” level (up to $1,000) have been made by John and Dalene Anderson, Ritzville, Wash.; Dawn Forsythe, U.S. Wheat Associates, Washington, D.C.; Ricky and Dana Gibson, Waynesboro, Va.; Frank and Barbara Heffelfinger, Eden Prairie, Minn.; Mike Mahoney, Watonga, Okla.; C. Elwood and Mary Whitmore, Mt. Crawford, Va.; and Herbert and Nancy Yeaman, Mauretown, Va.

The Agriculture River Recovery Fund’s Website (www.arrfund.org) contains additional information on the effort, as well as an updated list of contributors. All donations are fully deductible to individuals and corporations as a charitable contribution for federal income tax purposes. One hundred percent of all donations will be distributed to needy applicants. Contributions may be made by checks made payable to: Agriculture River Recovery Fund; 1250 Eye Street, N.W., Ste. 1003, Washington, D.C., 20005.

Export grain elevators and support services located in the Mississippi/Center Gulf region and Port of Mobile, Ala., are critically important to U.S. agriculture, which counts on exports to market approximately 50 percent of U.S. wheat, 25 percent of U.S. corn and 40 percent of U.S. soybeans. Export grain facilities in the New Orleans/Mobile region account for approximately 60 to 70 percent of vessel-borne shipments, consisting primarily of corn and soybeans (which combined typically represent about 90 percent of export shipments from the region). The region also is an important export port for U.S. hard red spring wheat.

AFIA Names “Member of the Year”

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) has named Mike Horn, president & CEO, Pennfield Corporation, Lancaster, Pa., as 2005 Member of the Year. Horn was presented the award during AFIA’s Expo ’05 in September.

The award is given to individuals who have made significant contributions to the association and the feed industry. Horn has served on the AFIA board of directors, executive committee, and nominating and budget committees. He recently chaired the AFIA Finance Task Force and currently chairs the Redesign Task Force. Horn also is chair-elect of the AFIA board and will assume the position of chairman of the board in May 2006.

Pennfield has been a Horn family-owned business for four generations, serving customers in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The company makes dairy, equine and specialty feeds and Ritter Food Service supplies the food-service and food-retail sectors with poultry, custom-cut meats, seafood, dry goods and frozen food products.

AFIA Names Director, Manufacturing & Training

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) has announced that Keith Epperson has been named director, manufacturing and training. He will provide industry representation for federal and state regulatory and legislative positions; technical leadership of educational forums; leadership for related AFIA committees/councils; and support for manufacturing members.

Prior to joining AFIA, Epperson held a variety of responsibilities for Kent Feeds. Most recently, he was the company’s eastern region vice president of plant operations. He also oversaw quality control for all Kent Feed and Evergreen plants.

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