Saturday, October 20, 2018

Lake Erie algae issue dooms agriculture director

"David T. Daniels, the longtime director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, has been fired by Governor John Kasich because of his resistance to the governor's anti-algal bloom policies,” according to a story printed on, an on-line newspaper.
Daniels, who has served as Kasich's ag director since 2012, "was let go because of his prolonged and active opposition to the governor's efforts to improve Lake Erie water quality," according a source the newspaper did not name because he/she “spoke on condition of anonymity.”
When algae blooms threatened the city’s water supply, Kasich announced mandatory farming controls to replace what until then had been voluntary measures.
On-farm measures remain voluntary on the Canadian side.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Tariff war goes to WTO

Just as I predicted, the tariff war touched off by United States President Donald Trump is heading to the World Trade Organization.

China, the European Union, Canada, Mexico, Norway, Russia and Turkey have all requested that the WTO set up a panel of adjudicators to judge the legality of steel and aluminum tariffs which Trump imposed in March.

In return, the U.S. has asked the WTO to adjudicate on tariffs imposed by Canada, China, Mexico and the European Union in response to those U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs.

This isn’t going anywhere fast, but it could prove lucrative for consultants and lawyers because these dispute-settling cases tend to drag on for months and months, if not years.

There is another fly in the ointment: the U.S. has failed to appoint people to act as adjudicators for WTO disputes-settling panels.

This will probably end only after Trump is either ousted from the presidency or gets over-ruled by the Senate.                           

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Thompsons grain involved in U.S. buyout

Thompsons Ltd. of Blenheim is at the centre of Andersons, Inc., purchase of the Lansing Trade Group.

The two companies each own half of Thompsons which they bought in 2013.

Anderson’s will pay about $305 million US to buy the 67.5 per cent of Lansing that it did not already own.

LTG shareholders will get about $175 million in cash and about $130 million in unregistered Andersons shares.

Thompsons is the dominant grain and food-grade bean handler and crop input provider in extreme Southwestern Ontario. It has 12 locations in Ontario and Minnesota.

LTG has a trading desk in Chatham and holds a 38 per cent stake in Providence Grain Group of Alberta.

LTG also owns a grain business in Hamilton and deals in feeds such as distillers grains, wheat middlings, protein meals and cottonseed and in ethanol, natural gas liquids and frac sand. 

Cow in Scotland had BSE

Government officials in Scotland said routine testing has turned up the first case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE, or mad cow’s disease) in almost a decade in that country.

Thousands of cattle were culled in the 1990s to stop the spread of the brain-damaging and fatal disease.

The infrected cow was detected on a farm in Aberdeenshire, officials said.

Restrictions have been put in place at the unnamed farm as an investigation is carried out into the source of the disease.

Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas said: “While it is too early to tell where the disease came from in this case, its detection is proof that our surveillance system is doing its job.

The animal did not enter the food chain, officials said.

Salmonella outbreak traced to chicken

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says recent outbreaks of salmonella food poisoning are so widespread and involve so many different suppliers that the cause “might be widespread in the chicken industry”

This strain - salmonella infantis - is resistant to some antibiotics and has infected 92 people in 29 states, the CDC said Wednesday, adding that 21 people have been hospitalized but nobody has died.

The DC said it had not yet linked the raw chicken products or live chickens to one lone supplier.
People who got sick reported eating different brands of chicken products purchased from many different locations.
The agency said the outbreak strain had been identified in samples “taken from raw chicken pet food, raw chicken products, and live chickens.”

Canadian supply management means very little U.S. chicken is imported.

Maple Leaf hires public relations expert

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. has hired Janet Riley who is the public affairs director for the North American Meat Institute.

The institute said she will remain there for the rest of this year, handling not only public affairs, but also membership, education, the production center and the IT department.

One of her roles has been responding to the hot-button animal welfare issues, such as sow gestation crates and the on-farm use of antibiotics.

NAMI chief executive and president Julie Anna Potts called Riley’s tenure with NAMI “stellar”.

She said Riley consistently made herself available to have conversations with meat industry critics, provided strategic counsel to NAMI members when needed and served as "Queen of Wien" of the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, which she founded in 1994.

“I am certain we will continue to draw on Janet’s expertise on issues ranging from animal welfare to sustainability to crisis management,” Potts said, noting that Maple Leaf Foods is a member of the institute.

HelloFresh is buying Chefs Plate

HelloFresh of Berlin, Germany, has struck a deal to buy Chefs Plate of Etobicoke. Both are in the meal kit business. 

HelloFresh said in making the announcement that the combined companies will lead the meal kit market in Canada, targeting revenues of about $200 million next year.

The price is somewhere in the middle of double digits, the company said, which apparently means about $50 million.

The integration will provide wider product variety and procurement, production and marketing synergies of some $10 million, company officials said in a news release.

“The integration of Chefs Plate is clearly such a unique opportunity to expand our leadership position across North America,” said Thomas Griesel, chief operating officer and co-founder of HelloFresh. 

“Canada is one of our fastest-growing markets that shows high consumer demand for meal kits. Chefs Plate is the perfect fit for HelloFresh to form the unrivalled market leader,” he said.