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Agribusiness

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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OSHA cites sawmills for multiple violations

SILVER CREEK — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the Joe N. Miles & Sons Inc. sawmill in Silver Creek with 19 safety violations. Proposed penalties total $67,800.

 OSHA began its inspection in Oct. 2010 as part of a national emphasis program on combustible dust in the workplace. The citations include one willful violation ...

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MDAC makes arrests, yanks license of exterminators

AROUND MISSISSIPPI — Following an investigation by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, two Bolivar County men have been arrested and charged with multiple felony counts each of False Pretenses for pest control fraud. The two men have been identified as Cleveland residents Albert Matthews, 58, and George Matthews, 38. The men are accused of conducting pest control services ...

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Catfish industry enthusiastic about new inspection regulations

WASHINGTON — The Catfish Farmers of America are applauding the U.S. Department of Agriculture for recommending implementation of a law requiring tough new inspections and regulation of all catfish sold in America. “We are extremely pleased that the USDA has recommended stricter regulation of catfish which will mean greater protection for American consumers,” said Joey Lowery, president of the Catfish ...

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USDA delays decision on catfish inspections

WASHINGTON — The Agriculture Department has delayed a decision on a new catfish inspection program that threatens to derail U.S. trade relations with Vietnam. The agency released a proposed rule Friday seeking more comment on the key question of whether Asian catfish will be subject to a new inspection regime that Congress passed in 2008 and that Asian producers say ...

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USDA declares two counties disaster areas

DESOTO COUNTY and MARSHALL COUNTY — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated counties in Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Virginia and North Carolina as primary natural disaster areas due to losses caused by drought and excessive heat that began June 1, 2010, and continues. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack “these conditions caused severe damage to corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans, ...

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NOAA sets guidelines for offshore fish farming

GULF OF MEXICO — President Barack Obama’s administration said yesterday it supports the farming of fish in federal waters, but that the practice needs to be done in a safe and scientifically sound manner. In the Gulf of Mexico, businesses have proposed growing fish on unused oil and natural gas platforms. Farming fish along the coast and even far out ...

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Senators pushing for continued duties on imported shrimp

WASHINGTON — Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) recently testified before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) that existing antidumping duties must be extended to promote an even playing field for U.S. shrimpers “besieged by unfair foreign imports.” The ITC is in the process of determining whether conditions within the U.S. shrimp industry warrant the continuation or ...

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