The issue is transparencyThe world’s top food companies and farmers of crops such as beet sugar are pitted against each other as they lobby the U.S. government over plans to label genetically engineered ingredients. At the heart of the issue is transparency over ingredients used in food. Packaged foods makers are facing flagging consumer trust and stagnating demand for some core products as consumers opt for foods with simpler ingredient lists. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

Altering pigs’ genetic code: Mention Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) to a pig farmer, and they will surely shudder. The virus isn’t that damaging to the grown pigs, but it can completely devastate a herd’s reproductive success. PRRS is one of the world’s most expensive animal diseases, costing the pig industry in Europe and the United States about $2.5 billion a year. But now scientists have managed to produce pigs that can resist the virus. And they did it by altering the pigs’ genetic code. READ MORE

‘Dicamba drift’ again: It is late June and, once again, “dicamba drift” is showing up in many Mid-South fields. Farmers in Southern and Midwestern states report crop damage from the broad-spectrum herbicide traveling from the fields where it is applied to other nearby fields. Missouri and Arkansas banned dicamba in 2017 in response to such reports, with manufacturer Monsanto suing the state of Arkansas to drop the ban. READ MORE

Six kinds of ‘cellular agriculture’: Ten years after the author proclaimed himself vegan, he met Isha Datar, the executive director of New Harvest, an organization devoted to advancing the science of what she calls “cellular agriculture.” Isha is trying to figure out how to grow any agricultural product—milk, eggs, flavors, fragrances, fish, fruit—from cells instead of animals. Here, the author outlines the six ways he sees “cellular agriculture” evolving. READ MORE

111-year-old university dairy going under: Dairy producers are going out of business all around the country due to falling milk prices and global oversupply. The downturn is bleeding over to more than dairy farms. It’s being felt by universities where the next generation of dairy producers are being trained. Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich., home to a century-old farm, plans to close the doors to its dairy operation the summer of 2019. READ MORE

On the subject of milk: U.S. milk export volumes set records in March and April and reached 18.8 percent of overall milk production. But uncertainty around the North American Free Trade Agreement, trade relations with China and the European Union’s (EU) push to sign trade agreements will have an impact on whether those export numbers remain robust. The market is volatile, and weather could affect prices. READ MORE

WATER

Could an iceberg save Cape Town? It is a plan as crazy as the situation is desperate— towing an iceberg from Antarctica to Cape Town to supply fresh water to a city in the grip of drought. Earlier this year, Cape Town came within weeks of shutting off all its taps and forcing residents to queue for water rations at public standpipes. READ MORE

TARIFFS

Analysts warn farmers should be proactive: While Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has said on multiple occasions that the Trump administration would not allow farmers to bear the brunt of the trade conflict between the U.S. and China, analysts say there’s still plenty of downside in the market. They warn that farmers should take proactive measures while they still can. READ MORE

Pig farmers’ livelihoods threatened: Retaliatory trade tariffs by China and Mexico now apply to 40 percent of total American pork exports, threatening the livelihoods of thousands of U.S. pig farmers, the National Pork Producers Council said Friday in response to the escalating trade war between the United States and China. READ MORE

About those Canadian tariffs: Beef is lumped in with a whole host of products on the list of a 10 percent Canadian tariff, effective July 1. Canada imposed new tariffs on about $12.5 billion worth of U.S. products, according to CNBC. A wide range of items were targeted, including yogurt, salad dressing, chocolate, ketchup and coffee. The ongoing trade war with several countries is expected to escalate with Chinese tariffs on pork, wheat, rice, dairy and soybeans and Mexican tariffs on pork. READ MORE

And the Chinese and Mexican tariffs, too: The looming tariffs from China (and Mexico) set to go into effect last week were a primary factor for the dismal performance of the Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction last Tuesday. The GDT aggregate price fell 5 percent on a moderate volume of trade, the largest decline in a year. READ MORE

What about soybeans? Chinese companies were expected to cancel most of the remaining soybeans they had committed to buy from the U.S. in the year ending Aug. 31 once the extra tariff on U.S. imports took effect from Friday. China is the world’s top soybean buyer and has yet to take delivery of about 1.14 million metric tons of U.S. soybeans booked for the current marketing year, according to USDA data. READ MORE

JUST INTERESTING

The problem for Big Beer: Americans’ changing drinking habits have been taking shape for years, but the trend accelerated in 2018. Beer shipments from U.S. breweries are down 3.5 percent so far this year, according to The Beer Institute, an industry trade group. The big four U.S. brands — Bud Light, Miller Lite, Coors Light, and Budweiser — have been hit particularly hard. Analysts say drinkers think the big American brands are stale, compared to the innovative new brands and creative concepts emerging from craft breweries, vineyards and distilleries. READ MORE