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News from Around the Farm World - Nov. 11, 2009
EU approves 3 American biotech corn products

BRUSSELS, Belgium — The European Commission has approved three biotech corn products for food, feed, import and processing, one of which was jointly developed by DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred and Dow AgroSciences LLC.

Corn products containing the Herculex RW protection trait stacked with Roundup Ready Corn 2 (also known as 59122/NK603) are now permitted for import into the European Union (EU). According to the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), the Commission also approved two other corn technologies, developed by Monsanto Co.: YieldGard VT Pro (MON 89034) and YieldGard VT Rootworm/RR2 (MON 88017).

Products containing these traits were assessed to be safe for use in food and feed by the EU’s independent scientific authority, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Pending publication in the Official Journal in the coming days, these products now are authorized for import into the EU in accordance with EU regulations, including the appropriate labeling and traceability of the products and their derivatives.

USGC Director of Biotechnology Programs Rebecca Fecitt said these decisions offer encouragement that sound science is moving towards the front of the line when decisions are made.

“We are very pleased to hear these products have received approval in the EU, following the European Food Safety Authority’s positive opinions on the safety of these products,” said Fecitt. “There are still products awaiting review in the EU, and we hope they will receive approval soon, as well.”

Health care bill clears House; legislation moves to Senate
WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — The Democrat-controlled U.S. House narrowly passed landmark health care legislation to expand coverage to tens of millions who lack it and place tough new restrictions on the insurance industry. Republican opposition was nearly unanimous.

The 220-215 vote Saturday night cleared the way for the Senate to begin a long-delayed debate on the issue that has come to overshadow all others in Congress.

A triumphant Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) likened the legislation to the passage of Social Security in 1935 and Medicare 30 years later and President Obama issued a statement saying, “I look forward to signing it into law by the end of the year.”

“It provides coverage for 96 percent of Americans. It offers everyone, regardless of health or income, the peace of mind that comes from knowing they will have access to affordable health care when they need it,” said Rep. John Dingell, the 83-year-old Michigan Democrat who has introduced national health insurance in every Congress since succeeding his father in 1955.

In the run-up to a final vote, conservatives from the two political parties joined forces to impose tough new restrictions on abortion coverage in insurance policies to be sold to many individuals and small groups. They prevailed on a roll call of 240-194.

Warren Buffett goes ‘all-in’ with $34B bet on railroad
NEW YORK, N.Y. (AP) — The biggest name in investing is making what he calls an “all-in wager” on the U.S. economy: $34 billion to own a railroad that hauls everything from corn to cars across the country.

The acquisition of Burlington Northern Santa Fe, the nation’s second-largest railroad, would be the biggest ever for Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway investment company. In a statement, Buffett, whose investing decisions are carefully scrutinized by the world of finance, voiced confidence in the railroad industry.

“Most important of all, however, it’s an all-in wager on the economic future of the United States. I love these bets,” he said Nov. 3.

1,000 gallons of manure spill in central Iowa
LINDEN, Iowa (AP) — A central Iowa swine facility has started to clean up after 1,000 gallons of manure was released into a stream.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said Nov. 3 that employees of Carstens Livestock discovered the leak from a manure storage structure Nov. 2 outside the city of Linden in Dallas County. Officials said an emergency shutoff valve failed, allowing the manure to spill into a ravine which runs into a tributary of the Middle Raccoon River.

Of the 1,000 gallons, officials said about 500 were spilled into the tributary. The department said Carstens quickly reported the spill and continued cleanup efforts on Tuesday. The department says the spill is under investigation.

Shot fired at Ohio wildlife officer’s cruiser
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Three Champaign County men, who allegedly shot at a state wildlife officer’s cruiser, hitting the windshield with two officers inside, were taken into custody Oct. 30 and released the following day. Charges will be filed as soon as the investigation has concluded.

Officers Jeffery Tipton and Adam Smith were parked in a field, on surveillance looking for poachers. The suspect’s vehicle pulled into the field and directed its headlights at their cruiser. One shot was fired, hitting the cruiser in the front windshield. Officers turned on their emergency lights and the suspects fled.

The officers pursued the suspects 4.5 miles from Johnson Township to Concord Township. They were apprehended with assistance from the Ohio Highway Patrol and Champaign County Sheriff’s office.