National briefs - Tyson Foods shakes up leadership team

Wisconsin State Farmer
National briefs


Senators urge USDA to restore data to website

A group of Democratic U.S. senators called on the Trump administration on this weekto restore animal cruelty information that recently was removed from government's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's website.

The 18 senators made the request in a letter to the acting deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the agency. It considers inspection reports for all regulated entities and annual reports submitted by research laboratories to be public.

"The public has a right to know if regulated entities have subjected animals in their care to abuse or otherwise failed to meet basic welfare standards," the lawmakers wrote. "Public access to information can guide consumer decision making and plays an important role in deterring regulated entities from violating the law."


Invasive bugs found in fallen trees years after storm

Damaging insects can emerge from fallen trees and logs for several years after a major storm, according to a U.S. Forest Service study that reinforces longstanding warnings against moving firewood from place to place.

Timber that gets blown down, broken or damaged by wind is often cut and used as firewood, which in turn can enable the spread of invasive, destructive insects that drain the life out of forests from New England to the West Coast.

Such pests are projected to put 63 percent of the country's forest at risk through 2027 and carry a cost of several billion dollars annually in dead tree removal, declining property values and timber industry losses, according to the peer-reviewed study last year in Ecological Applications.

The emerald ash borer alone, now in 30 states, has killed hundreds of millions of trees and has the potential to cause $12.7 billion in damage by 2020.


Tyson Foods announces new leadership team

Arkansas-based Tyson Foods is shaking up its top leadership team.

The Springdale-based meat company announced this week that long-time executives Donnie King, Sara Lilygren and Gary Cooper will be leaving the company. King is president of North American operations, Lilygren is executive vice president for corporate affairs and Cooper is the company's chief information officer.

Tyson says the departures will occur "over a period of months" to ease the transition. The company announced a new, 10-member leadership team that will report to new Tyson President and CEO Tom Hayes, who took over on Dec. 31.

Tyson is one of the world's largest food companies and its brands include Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm and Sara Lee. The company has about 114,000 employees worldwide.


Trump to keep predecessor's produce garden

Michelle Obama's garden stays. First lady Melania Trump says that she is committed to preserving gardens at the White House, including the bountiful one planted by her immediate predecessor.

Obama planted the garden on the South Lawn in 2009 as one of her first big projects and as the foundation for her signature initiative, "Let's Move." The garden produced hundreds of pounds of fruit and vegetables yearly. Some of it was used to feed the Obama family, as well as guests attending White House events, such as state dinners.

Some of the sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, lettuces, herbs and other crops were given to neighborhood food kitchens.


Water woes at trout hatchery prompt seismic probe

Maryland fishery managers say they're looking for a geological explanation for a historic drop in the flow rate of a spring that feeds the state's largest trout hatchery.

The Department of Natural Resources said it's using a seismometer to determine if underground activity is affecting the spring at the Albert Powell Hatchery near Hagerstown.

The agency says the flow rate from November through January reached a record low, and the water became silty twice in December and January.

The agency says it's stocking some rainbow trout in waterways earlier than expected to reduce the density of fish at the hatchery. It also plans to reduce trout stocking next year and is working on a system to re-use hatchery water.