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Agribusiness

Catfish industry 'stunned' by McCain proposal

WASHNGTON — A proposal by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to repeal a law making all catfish safer for American consumers ignores numerous findings of banned substances in imported catfish products and favors inadequate food safety requirements, according to Catfish Farmers of America. “It is stunning that Sen. McCain has chosen to protect importers and Vietnamese farmers over the health and ...

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Catfish industry disturbed by GAO report

WASHINGTON — The Catfish Farmers of America says it welcomes streamlining U.S. government regulation of America’s food supply chain, but warns that back-peddling on critical seafood safety inspections and regulations will put consumers at greater risk. In a new report, the Government Accountability Office questions the cost of transferring the regulation of catfish from the Food and Drug Administration to ...

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USDA declares 44 counties disaster areas

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 44 counties in Mississippi as primary natural disaster areas due a drought that occurred May 1-Dec. 31, 2010. The counties are: Amite, Hancock, Leflore, Quitman, Benton, Harrison, Lincoln, Sharkey, Bolivar, Hinds, Lowndes, Simpson, Carroll, Holmes, Marshall, Stone, Chickasaw, Issaquena, Monroe, Sunflower, Claiborne, Jefferson, Newton, Tallahatchie, Clay, Jefferson Davis, Noxubee, Tate, ...

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USDA looks to settle more discrimination claims

WASHINGTON — As part of continued efforts to close the chapter on allegations that discrimination occurred at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in past decades, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Assistant Attorney General Tony West have announced the establishment of a process to resolve the claims of Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who assert that they were discriminated ...

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EPA approves use of bird repellant by corn growers

JACKSON — Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Lester Spell announced approval by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of an emergency exemption that will provide protection to corn producers throughout the state from blackbird predation of newly planted corn. Mississippi corn growers throughout the state have suffered million dollar losses in recent years due to heavy blackbird predation. The products receiving ...

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MSU awards kenaf patents to Texas manufacturer

STARKVILLE — Kenaf, a fibrous plant that is similar to bamboo, is the subject of two Mississippi State University patents that have been licensed to a Texas manufacturer. Corn Board Manufacturing, Inc. plans to use kenaf to make pressed board. “CBMI is looking to blend kenaf into their board products, to achieve the combination of flexibility, rigidity and durability required ...

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Senators raising dust over proposed EPA regulations

WASHINGTON — The prospect of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) moving forward on stricter regulations intended to control dust generated through farming has prompted U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) to caution the agency against any dramatic federal action. Cochran and Wicker are among a bipartisan group of 33 senators who recently wrote EPA administrator Lisa Jackson to ...

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Heartland Catfish temporarily laying off workers

ITTA BENA — Heartland Catfish has announced that employees at its plants in Mississippi and Alabama will face temporary layoffs or reduced hours over the next four months. Danny Walker, CEO for Itta Bena-based Heartland, told the Greenwood Commonwealth that the company, like others in the industry, is being squeezed by a shortage of live catfish. The supply will get ...

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Fruit, vegetable growers have new market opportunity

JACKSON — The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC) and the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) have announced a new opportunity for Mississippi fruit and vegetable growers. An informational meeting will be held Feb. 24 at 10:00 a.m. at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum’s Forestry Building in Jackson for all Mississippi fruit and vegetable growers interested in ...

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MDAC accepting specialty crop grant applications

JACKSON — The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce is now accepting proposals for Mississippi’s FY 2011 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. The purpose of the program is to solely enhance the competitiveness of Mississippi’s specialty crop industry. Projects funded through the program must address at least one of the following priority areas: research; promotion/marketing; education/training; or, food safety/product handling. ...

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