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USDA seeks more funds for food defense

first_imgFeb 13, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – The US Department of Agriculture is proposing a big increase in spending to protect the US food and agriculture system from terrorist threats and other disasters in fiscal year 2009, while seeking somewhat less money for avian influenza.The Bush administration’s proposed 2009 budget calls for $277 million for the various programs in its Food and Agriculture Defense Initiative, a $91 million increase from estimated spending of $186 million in fiscal year 2007, which ends Sep 30.The USDA budget summary lists $60 million for avian influenza control efforts by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), down from $67 million in estimated spending this year. The cut reflects savings from a planned merger of the agency’s programs on highly pathogenic and low-pathogenic avian flu and after some one-time spending items this year, officials say.Also, the administration is proposing $1.09 billion for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), a $22 million increase from this year’s estimated spending. At the same time, the budget report says the agency will seek congressional authorization to collect new fees worth $96 million a year from the food-processing plants it inspects. The FSIS monitors the safety of meat, poultry, and processed egg products.Final budgeting decisions require congressional action, which often is delayed until the new fiscal year is well under way. In addition, USDA Secretary Ed Schafer said on Feb 4 that the budget proposal is likely to require some changes after Congress enacts a new farm bill.”The President’s 2009 recommended budget for USDA is based on the provisions of the 2002 Farm Bill and reflects the administration’s proposals for change,” Schafer said at a briefing. “We expect some changes will need to be made to the budget estimates when a new farm bill is enacted, and I must say I am increasingly confident that that will happen.”Food defense fundingThe Food Safety and Defense Initiative is the collective name for various activities under the FSIS, APHIS, Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES). Activities targeted for increases in the budget proposal include:ARS food defense research, from $9 million this year to $23 millionARS agriculture defense research, from $25 million to $39 millionSurveillance by APHIS for plant pests and animal diseases, from $63 million to $98 millionAPHIS’s National Veterinary Stockpile of vaccines, personal protective equipment, and other supplies, from $4 million to $8 millionAPHIS efforts related to plant and animal “select agents” [dangerous pathogens] from $4 million to $6 millionIn addition, the ARS proposes to spend $13 million (up from $3 million this year) for planning and design of a major poultry health laboratory in Athens, Ga. At a Feb 4 news briefing, Scott Steele of the USDA said the lab will be comparable to the agency’s livestock health laboratory in Ames, Iowa.Avian flu spendingThe budget proposal says USDA is spending an estimated $51 million on highly pathogenic avian flu and $16 million on low-pathogenic avian flu this year, for a total of $67 million. The plan calls for combining the two efforts in 2009 and providing $60 million for them.Rachel Iadicicco, an APHIS spokeswoman in Riverdale, Md., said the reduced request reflects expected savings from combining the activities and also from the completion of several one-time expenditures this year. The latter included costs for disease modeling, staff recruiting, and purchase of supplies for the National Veterinary Stockpile, she said.”We’re working to eliminate duplication of efforts,” Iadicicco said. For example, “Instead of testing one bird for low-pathogenic and another for highly pathogenic, we’ll test for both” in the same bird, she said.Iadicicco said there are no plans to reduce testing or surveillance for avian flu in poultry and wild birds or to cut back on staff.FSIS proposes new user feesThe $1.09 billion proposed for the FSIS includes $140 million from existing user fees and trust funds, leaving $952 million in expected appropriations. This year the agency estimates its spending of appropriated money at $930 million.The budget summary says the existing user fees are charged for providing overtime, holiday, and voluntary inspection services. “Separately, FSIS will submit a legislative proposal that will permit expansion of user fee charges for certain additional activities in 2009, with total collections estimated at $96 million,” the summary states. “The proposal would generate fees that will reduce appropriation needs in future years.”A total of $92 million would be collected through a licensing fee from all inspected establishments. An additional $4 million would be collected from plants that require additional inspection activities for performance failures such as retesting, recalls, or inspection activities linked to an outbreak.”Goals for foodborne pathogensThe budget summary also lists goals for reducing the prevalence of three leading foodborne pathogens—Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, and Escherichia coli O157:H7—in meat, poultry, and egg products.For Salmonella, the FSIS wants to raise the percentage of broiler chicken plants that achieve “category 1” status, meaning no more than 10% of tested product samples are contaminated. The budget summary says 71% of broiler plants achieved that in 2007; the agency wants to increase that to 80% this year and 85% in 2009.For Listeria, 0.31% of ready-to-eat product samples tested positive in 2007, the summary says. The goal is to reduce that to 0.29% in 2008 and 0.28% in 2009.The prevalence of E coli O157 in ground beef samples was up in 2007, reaching 0.23%, versus 0.16% in 2006, the summary reports. The increase came as ground beef recalls and E coli outbreaks surged. The FSIS projects a prevalence rate of 0.24% for this year but sets a goal of reducing it to 0.20% in 2009, according to the summary.See also: USDA fiscal year 2009 budget summaryhttp://www.obpa.usda.gov/budsum/FY09budsum.pdfTranscript of USDA’s Feb 4 budget briefinghttp://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/!ut/p/_s.7_0_A/7_0_1RD?printable=true&contentidonly=true&contentid=2008/02/0031.xmllast_img read more

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The eve of a vibrant new life as inner city ‘holiday homes’ ready for occupancy

first_imgAll the apartments have an allocated parking space in the development.“We are pleased to make available a final release of apartments that are now fully completed and available for new residents to move into straight away.”The low-maintenance apartments make the most of natural light and ventilation, with under cover balconies for year-round entertaining.All apartments have an allocated car space within the building, and plenty of visitor parking within the complex.A three-bedroom apartment comes with two bathrooms, large and fully-equipped kitchens, open living spaces, laundry facilities, unlimited Wi-Fi and Foxtel TV. The living room opens onto a spacious balcony with city views.The master bedroom features an ensuite and huge walk-in-robe plus a second balcony. The property is located in South Brisbane. The 476-unit twin tower development is within easy walking distance of South Bank. The final apartments in the recently completed Ivy and Eve residential towers at South Brisbane are now selling, as the first residents settle into their new homes.RESIDENTS have started moving in to their new “holiday home”, which boasts resort-style facilities that could rival a five-star hotel.The twin 30-storey towers Ivy and Eve in South Brisbane are joined by a podium deck level, and boast residents-only facilities including a lap pool, heated spa, sun deck, gymnasium, yoga room, outdoor cinema, a beach house, private dining and games room, barbecue areas with pizza oven, a purpose-built Japanese-style teppanyaki bar, and plenty of lush greenery. And a new on-site cafe will also be opening soon. Construction was completed by Hutchinson Builders in January, and only a handful of one, two and three-bedroom apartments remain on the market. Prices start from $407,500. It has a chic inner city vibe.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus19 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market19 hours agoDeveloped by joint venturers Abacus Property Group, KPG Capital and Singapore’s CDL, the 476-unit twin tower development is within easy walking distance of South Bank, the CBD, West End and Brisbane’s best cultural and entertainment precincts.Abacus Property Group development director John Bush said the project appealed to owner-occupiers, investors and tenants because of its enviable Merivale Street location.“Residents are consistently surprised by the quality of the city, river and mountain views on offer from each apartment’s floor-to-ceiling windows and outdoor living areas,” he said.“The recreation deck and sheer number of different resort-style spaces at Ivy and Eve have also been key drivers of demand since the project’s launch.last_img read more

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ConocoPhillips maintains steady profit

first_imgU.S. oil major ConocoPhillips recorded a similar profit in the second quarter 2019 to the one made in the same period last year as lower oil prices were offset by higher volumes. Ryan Lance, ConocoPhillips CEO. Image by Bartolomej TomicConocoPhillips on Tuesday reported second quarter 2019 earnings of $1.58 billion compared with second quarter 2018 earnings of $1.64 billion.According to the company, earnings were lower compared with the second quarter of 2018 primarily due to lower realized prices and a lower unrealized gain on its Cenovus Energy equity, partially offset by higher volumes and a financial tax benefit related to the planned U.K. disposition.Excluding special items, second-quarter 2019 adjusted earnings were $1.1 billion compared with second-quarter 2018 adjusted earnings of $1.3 billion.Second quarter production, excluding Libya, of 1,290 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (MBOED) exceeded the high end of guidance; year-over-year underlying production grew 4 percent overall and 6 percent on a per debt-adjusted share basis.Sales volumes for the quarter were lower than production, reducing earnings by $32 million. The company’s total realized price was $50.50 per barrel of oil equivalent (BOE), compared with $54.32 per BOE in the second quarter of 2018, reflecting the impact of lower marker prices.“This was our seventh consecutive quarter of generating free cash flow while executing our disciplined plans and delivering on our targets,” said Ryan Lance, chairman and chief executive officer.“Over that time frame we fully funded our capital expenditures, dividends and buybacks within cash from operations. ConocoPhillips has embraced an approach to our cyclical industry that we believe will deliver superior returns and create value across a range of commodity prices. This quarter represents a continuation of strong performance on our business model that prioritizes financial returns, discipline, resilience with upside and shareholder distributions.”Operating plan capital is now expected to be $6.3 billion versus $6.1 billion.Third-quarter 2019 production is expected to be 1,290 to 1,330 MBOED, reflecting planned turnarounds in Alaska, Europe and Asia Pacific. Full-year production guidance is 1,310 to 1,340 MBOED. The guidance excludes Libya.As reported earlier on Tuesday, UK’s BP has also reported a stable profit when compared to the same period last year, which amounted to $2.8 billion.Offshore Energy Today StaffSpotted a typo? Have something more to add to the story? Maybe a nice photo? Contact our editorial team via email. Also, if you’re interested in showcasing your company, product or technology on Offshore Energy Today, please contact us via our advertising form where you can also see our media kit.last_img read more

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Keane lifts Galaxy

first_imgRobbie Keane’s return to action after seven weeks out with a groin injury inspired the Los Angeles Galaxy to a 1-0 Major League Soccer victory over the Houston Dynamo on Friday night. Press Association There was also late drama in Friday’s other game, with substitute Jason Johnson nodding home an equaliser four minutes into stoppage time to secure the Chicago Fire a 2-2 draw at the Columbus Crew. Kei Kamara had put the hosts two up at MAPFRE Stadium, a clinical finish in the eighth minute and a powerful header in the 55th. But David Accam halved the deficit with a neat header before the hour mark and then Johnson had the final word. center_img The Republic of Ireland captain set up Alan Gordon for a second-half stoppage-time header that proved enough to help the Galaxy end their five-game winless streak. There was still time after Gordon’s strike for Los Angeles left-back Oscar Sorto, on his first MLS start, to be sent off for a tackle from behind on Dynamo defender David Horst. last_img read more

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