dairy industry

In a first, farmworker infected with bird flu has respiratory symptoms

A farmworker in Michigan is the first person to experience respiratory symptoms after contracting bird flu from dairy cows infected with the H5N1 virus, said Michigan officials on Thursday. It was the third U.S. case of cow-to-human transmission and the second in Michigan. The Centers for Disease Control said the risk to the general public remained low.

USDA and HHS allot $199 million to quash bird flu threat to cattle and humans

The Biden administration poured $199 million into the fight against the H5N1 bird flu virus, which was identified in cattle for the first time seven weeks ago, a worrisome step closer to people. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said dairy farmers are eligible for up to $28,000 in USDA aid in three months to help eradicate the virus from their herds, and Health Secretary Xavier Becerra announced new funding among public health agencies to "test, treat, prevent" the virus from spreading.

FDA: Bird flu viral fragments in milk were dead; pasteurization works

Although fragments of the H5N1 bird flu virus were found in one-fifth of milk purchased in grocery stores, a new round of high-precision testing "did not detect any live, infectious virus" and reaffirmed that the commercial milk supply is safe, said the FDA. (No paywall)

CDC: Bird flu virus lacks changes to make it a greater threat to people

Samples of the H5N1 bird flu virus that has infected dairy cattle and a dairy worker retain avian genetic characteristics and “for the most part lack changes that would make them better able to infect mammals,” said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a technical update. “The overall risk to human health associated with the ongoing HPAI A(H5) outbreaks in poultry and detections in wild birds and cattle remains low,” said the CDC.

Bird flu found in dairy herds in five states

Bird flu, which killed more than 82 million birds in U.S. domestic flocks in the past two years, has appeared in dairy herds in Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, and Texas, said federal officials. The outbreaks, affecting a relatively small number of cattle, are not expected to affect milk supply or prices at the grocery store.

Pennsylvania dairies put the notion of climate-smart milk to the test

The U.S. dairy industry is aiming to go greenhouse gas neutral by 2050. Researchers have many ideas to help get them there — from feed additives that minimize methane-filled cow burps to new timing for fertilizer applications. But there’s little data on how well many of these strategies work on actual dairies with varying environmental conditions. (No paywall)

Bird flu found in dairy cows in Texas and Kansas

The USDA announced Monday that unpasteurized milk samples from sick cattle at two dairy farms in Kansas and one in Texas, as well as an oropharyngeal swab from another dairy in Texas, tested positive for Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

House votes to make whole milk part of school lunches

The House passed, on an overwhelming 330-99 roll call on Wednesday, a bill that overrides USDA regulations to allow schools to serve whole milk as part of the school lunch program. “Let’s end the war on milk,” said Rep. Virginia Foxx, chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee.

Food makers say they will reduce methane emissions on dairy farms

Six major food companies, from General Mills to Danone, said at the UN climate summit that they will reduce their dairy methane emissions as part of a new alliance that includes a major U.S. environmental group. The Dairy Methane Action Alliance will require members to publicly disclose emissions within their dairy supply chains and implement a methane action plan.

Canada prevails over U.S. in dairy dispute

A USMCA dispute panel rejected U.S. charges that Canada bent the rules to unfairly restrict American sales in its dairy market despite agreeing in the free trade agreement to grant more access. "This is good news for Canada's dairy industry and our system of supply management," said Trade Minister Mary Ng and Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAuley in a statement.

Vilsack encourages congressional creativity to break farm bill impasse

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he’s certain Congress will meet the Dec. 31 deadline to pass the farm bill or temporarily revive its predecessor, but it will require a dose of creativity to do it. Lawmakers have been deadlocked for weeks over farm group demands for a larger safety net when there are few ways to pay for it.

USDA hearing could lead to milk-price overhaul

Responding to dairy industry petitions, the USDA said it would open a hearing on Aug. 23 on possible changes to the complex Federal Milk Marketing Order system that sets the price farmers get for fresh milk.

Largest U.S. farm group opposes ‘make allowance’ proposal as unfair

The Agriculture Department should insist on comprehensive reform of U.S. dairy pricing rather than considering a piecemeal approach from dairy processors for an increase in the so-called make allowance, said the American Farm Bureau Federation on Wednesday. “We urge you to reject the current proposals that risk further burden to America’s dairy farmers,” wrote AFBF president Zippy Duvall in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Amid tussle over milk labeling, FDA proposes ‘voluntary nutrient statements’

Americans know the difference in origin between cow’s milk and plant-based milk, and they ought to be told when a dairy alternative has a different nutrient makeup, said the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday. Its proposal, for a statement on packages for many types of plant-based milks, satisfied neither side in the years-old argument over what can be called “milk.”

U.S. requests third consultation on Canadian dairy quotas

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is six months shy of its third anniversary and the United States already has requested a third set of bilateral consultations over its objections to Canada's dairy quota system. U.S. trade representative Katherine Tai announced the request on Tuesday, saying the government has identified additional aspects of Canadian import rules that violate its agreement to allow a larger volume of U.S. dairy imports.

‘We need action’ by Senate on farm labor reform, say advocates

With congressional adjournment on the horizon, a parade of farmers, food processors, and lawmakers called on the Senate on Wednesday to get to work on legislation to give legal status to undocumented farmworkers and streamline the H-2A guestworker program. The House passed an ag labor bill 19 months ago, but nothing has emerged from behind-the-scenes negotiations in the Senate on the issue.

Burst of USDA top-up pandemic payments to farmers

Farmers have received $4.8 billion in long-promised payments of $20 an acre on crops that range from corn, soybeans, and wheat to sorghum and sugar beets, said USDA data on Monday. It was the largest disbursement of coronavirus relief funds since the Biden administration took office.

New pandemic aid program encourages dairy donations to food banks

To reduce food waste and help feed hungry Americans, the USDA will spend an estimated $400 million to reimburse dairy organizations for donating products to food banks, said Deputy Agriculture Secretary Jewel Bronaugh on Wednesday. The donation program was the second component of pandemic relief to dairy farmers that would total $2 billion this year.

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