Good Egg Award Goes to Natural Grocers

In 2007 Compassion in World Farming created the “Good Egg Award” to recognize companies that are ready to use, or commit to use within five years, eggs and egg products entirely derived from free-range chickens.

Eggs laid by free-range chickens, who found a convenient place under a tree. (At a family organic farm in Bruthen, Victoria) Photo courtesy of Vmenkov.

The organization hosted their Good Farm Animal Awards Ceremony in London, awarding to Natural Grocers the award that recognizes and honors the company’s innovative supply chain of 100% Free-Range Eggs. They are the first major US grocery chain that exclusively carries free-range eggs.

Natural Grocers has been supporting the improvement of animal welfare guidelines. In the case of cage-free eggs, the company went beyond the accepted standards in 2016 when they began their 100% Free-Range egg supply chain. This approach assures consumers that only non-cage eggs are sold at Natural Grocers, and that the price is the same, or even lower, with the new higher standard.

“There is a momentous shift happening in the US and beyond towards cage-free and free-range egg production. We are thrilled to be awarding Natural Grocers for being at the forefront of that shift,” said Rachel Dreskin, US Head of Food Business at Compassion in World Farming. “We would like to congratulate Natural Grocers for the huge difference they are making to the lives of laying hens in their supply chain. As hundreds of other food businesses move in the same direction their commitment to animal welfare will serve as an excellent example.”

“We are proud to have our industry-leading 100% Free-Range egg standard recognized by Compassion in World Farming,” said Heather Isely, Executive Vice President at Natural Grocers. “We hope to inspire other companies around the world to follow our example and to realize that it is possible to offer the highest quality standards at affordable prices. We are here to show that a just, sustainable and equitable food system is possible.”

Federal Labeling Law on GMOs Does Not Pass the “Laugh Test”

 A protester in San Francisco, California, advocates for the labeling of GMO constituents in foodstuffs. Photo courtesy of Daniel Goehring.

A protester in San Francisco, California, advocates for the labeling of GMO constituents in foodstuffs. Photo courtesy of Daniel Goehring.

Due to pressure from the processed food industry, Congress passed, and President Obama signed, a new federal law requiring QR codes on the labels of products containing genetically modified foods, or GMOs. For activists, especially in Vermont, this was very bad news.

After years of activism Vermont became the first state in the United States to pass a law to require manufacturers to state on product labels if the food within contains GMOs. The law passed in Vermont’s legislature in 2014 with an overwhelming majority, and went into effect on July 1st, 2016.

As the law was challenged in court during the summer, unsuccessfully, activists in New York and Massachusetts took heart and gained momentum to pass similar laws. In addition, several food companies decided that it would be easier to put labels on their products throughout the country rather than just creating a different label just for their small Vermont market. Some companies even decided it would be easier to just leave out GMOs altogether.

Then, in mid-July, congress took the side of processed food, pesticide and biotech companies. With little debate and no hearings, first the Senate, and then the House, passed a much less potent law for disclosing GMOs in food. But not only that: the law also prevents individual states, including Vermont, from making their own labeling requirements. President Obama signed this law into effect on July 29th.

The weaker federal law makes it more difficult for consumers to find out what is in their food, requiring them to either have a smart phone to read the QR code, or look up the ingredients on a web site, or make a phone call.

“The idea that this will provide right to know is ridiculous,” says Andrea Stander, the executive director of Rural Vermont, which pushed for Vermont’s labeling law. “It doesn’t pass the laugh test.”

“Flavor of Georgia” Food Contest Open for Registration

Flavor of GeorgiaSince 2005 the Center of Agribusiness and Economic Development in Georgia has sponsored a contest to celebrate the creativity and food craftsmanship of Georgian businesses.  Sponsored in conjunction with the University of Georgia for Agribusiness, and founded by Dr. Kent Wolfe from the CAED, the contest was first only promoted through the food industry to improve publicity and exposure for food businesses.  In 2007 the contest was enlarged to accommodate admissions from anyone from the entire state of Georgia.

“Flavor of Georgia is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to gain publicity and exposure for their products. It’s also a chance for them to network with other food entrepreneurs and industry experts,” said Sharon P. Kate, a UGA food business development specialist and coordinator of the contest.

According to Kate the contest definitely has the sought-after results. Over 90 percent of the finalists in the 2014 Flavor of Georgia contest say that have seen more interest in their products after the contests.  Other businesses have seen improved sales, profits, publicity and web-traffic. Others state they have increased their number of full and part-time employees.

Registration for the 2015 Flavor of Georgia contest is now through January 30, 2015. Acceptable entries can include products that are commercially available and have already been sold; and never before distributed market-ready prototypes. Products can be entered within the following categories: barbecue sauces, beverages, confections, dairy products, jams and jellies, marinades and sauces, meat and seafood, salsas, chutneys ( thick sauces of Indian origin that are made from fruits, vinegar, sugar and spices) and condiments, snack foods and miscellaneous products. There is no limit to the number of products that any individual can submit.

Ukraine AgriBusiness

New Agribusiness Association Forming

In important news in the agribusiness industry, a new agribusiness association is being created by the Customs Union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan. This new association will include representatives of each of the industry unions and associations that is involved in agribusiness for each of these three countries.

An agreement was reached to create this association during the foundation meeting of the Agribusiness Association of the Customs Unions in Moscow when they met on July 26th, 2011. In attendance at that meeting were: First Deputy Agriculture and Food Minister of Belarus Nadezhda Kotkovets, Russian Agriculture Minister Yelena Skrynnik, and Agriculture Vice Minister of Kazakhstan Saktash Khasenov.

The present goal is for the first founding convention of this new association to take place in October of 2011.  The supervisory board will be led by Russian Agriculture Minister Yelena Shrynnik.

The goals of the new Agribusiness Association are many.  They plan to harmonize agribusiness policies on the common market while ensuring food security and working to keep stability in the domestic market.

In addition, the Association hopes to develop the export potential for all three countries, create joint infrastructure of the agricultural food market, and create better conditions for mutual investments.

US Companies Investing in Latvia

Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis and other delegates meet with NCH Capital founders George Rohr and Moris Tabacinic.










Pictured here are Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis and NCH Capital founder George Rohr.











NCH Capital founder George Rohr meets with the Latvian delegation.










Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis discusses the importance of US investments in Latvian companies with NCH Capital founder George Rohr and others.



The Ukraine: Up and Coming Agribusiness Market

George Rohr

George Rohr

This week, the Australian Grains Industry Conference (AGIC) showcased a number of key up-and-coming countries in the agribusiness industry.

VITERRA’s European managing director, Christian Joerg, highlighted the rapidly growing global importance of the Ukraine saying:

“Ukraine was once the breadbasket of Europe, and it can become this again, and maybe fill this role for the world.”

The Ukraine offers great prospects for the agribusiness industry, Mr. Joerg pointed out, because of its extraordinarily high soil fertility and favorable climate for grain production. A small number of international agribusiness investors in the know, such as funds managed by George Rohr‘s NCH Capital Inc., have been early movers in Ukraine.

While many poor farmers in the Ukraine prefer to plant barley because it is a cheaper crop to grow, more are turning their attention to wheat production. Mr. Joerg pointed out that the end of the barley subsidies in the EU has meant that the Ukraine is filling the gap.

Agribusiness Economic Outlook Conference

Cornell economist William Schulze delivered the keynote address at this year’s Agribusiness Economic Outlook Conference Dec. 14. Schulze predicted 4 percent growth in the economy and 8 percent unemployment in 2011.

Agricultural Inputs to Maximize Yield

Optimise your Agricultural Inputs to Maximise Yield, Efficiency, Sustainability and Investment

November 25, 26 Prague.

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