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A2 Milk: attempts to premiumize the once-commoditized product

Conventional milk contains two main types of beta-casein protein, A1 and A2; the former is believed by many consumers and health care professionals to affect digestive health and possibly cause heart diseases and diabetes. This is where a2 Milk attempts to premiumize its brand. Australia-based The a2 Milk Co. Ltd. engages in the commercialization of A1 protein-free milk and related products. In order to do so, the company starts with specially selected cow that are not affected by the natural genetic mutation leading to the production of milk containing A1 proteins.

According to management, a2 Milk captures the leading value share of 6.4% in the fast-growing Chinese infant nutrition market. At the same time, a2 Milk has become the top premium milk brand in Australia with an 11.2% value share. As of fiscal 2019, the company had approximately 16,000 stores (up 64% year over year) for distribution in China and 13,000 (up 161% year over year) in the U.S.

Read more at GuruFocus

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What’s the way out for Big Food companies?

After decades of rising sales and high popularity, makers and sellers of processed food are under pressure. Stringent regulations, negative media campaigns, declining popularity, shrinking margins and consolidation are the trending words in the food processing industry.

What’s the way out for Big Food companies?

  1. Consolidation and cost-cutting: The situation in Big Food sector is similar to that of tobacco industry where consolidation and cost-cutting was the only way-out to keep profits up. If the decline in processed foods’ popularity continues, two further strategies—consolidation and cost­ cutting—will become more prevalent.
    • Example: In 2015, Berkshire and 3G backed Heinz in its roughly $45b merger with Kraft Foods, created the third-largest North American food company.
  2. Emulate lean startups: Big companies face a common issue: sunk-cost fallacy. As per sunk-cost fallacy, companies continue to invest more time and money into the existing projects because they have already invested a lot of time and money into that project. This situation is similar to the case of Family farms, who are going out of business for decades, but new ones are being founded, promising organic, locally grown produce.
    • Example: Chobani, a maker of Greek­style yogurt started in 2005, has reached to a sales of around $1.5b by 2018, as per forbes estimates.
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How Satellites Can Improve Decision-Making For Agricultural Investments

USDA information about crop supply and demand estimates is fundamental to both policy-makers and agricultural investors. Nevertheless, the current situation with markets and crops is changing faster than USDA report releases, especially with the uncertainty around coronavirus pandemics. The uncertainty caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 reinforces the need for reliable, precise, politically neutral, and promptly available data for investors.

Here’s where digital tools can come in handy.

Geospatial intelligence, supply-and-demand estimates, crop tours, experimental plots, direct contact with grain producers are among the most effective ways to gather much-needed data. Agricultural investing is entering in the ‘remote prediction’ era where the one with superior AI tools has the edge. This is where satellite technologies can close informational gaps – and do it faster than once a month.

Read more at Investing.com

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Farm records and its importance

A farm record can be a book, document, file (excel spreadsheet), or software that is used to keep track of the different activities that occur on your farm relating to your operations. Farm records may seem like a highly administrative task that can consume a lot of time, but once you get the hang of it, it will seem less daunting. When recording the information, always ensure that it is relatable, easy to understand, accurate and relevant to you and your farm.

Various types of records that make up your farm records are:

  • Production records including Crop and Livestock records like planting, fertilising, animal health checks etc.
  • Employee records related to the staff members.
  • Logistics records like filing of each delivery note/receipt.
  • Sales records dealing with the revenue generated from the sale of goods and services.
  • Financial records encompassing the daily management of accounting.

Read more at Mbali Nwoko

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Positive side: Farmers in direct contact with big buyers

The lockdown is driving some long-awaited positive changes in agriculture – it is bringing farmers in direct contact with big buyers in cities and is forcing a change in cropping practices that will help rejuvenate the soil and conserve water. The acute shortage of labour will severely restrict the popular practice of paddy transplantation in Punjab and Haryana which increases the yield but is very water intensive and depletes groundwater significantly. As much as 12 times man-days of labour is required in paddy compared to wheat.

Read more at The Economic Times

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European vegetable producers are asking to open the Russian market for export

The Association of European Fruit and Vegetable Manufacturers (Eucofel) called on the European Commission to open export to the Russian market. An open letter asking to resume dialogue with Russia was signed by representatives of the fruit and vegetable sector of Spain, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland and Portugal. In addition, producers of fruits and vegetables are asked to introduce temporary support measures for producers, which would guarantee an adequate level of product prices, restore market balance and eliminate violations.

Now Russian counter-sanctions, restricting the supply of certain types of agricultural products from the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia, Norway, Albania, Montenegro, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Ukraine, apply to almost all types of vegetables and fruits, with the exception of potato, onion, pea and corn, as well as frozen and dried vegetables imported for the production of baby food.

Read more at Potato System

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‘Apple detectives’ find 10 lost fruit varieties

A team of retirees that scours the remote ravines and windswept plains of the Pacific Northwest for long-forgotten pioneer orchards has rediscovered 10 apple varieties that were believed to be extinct. But the men, who make up the nonprofit Lost Apple Project, won’t see the fruits of their labor this year because of the coronavirus outbreak. Each fall, they collect hundreds of apples from long-abandoned orchards that they find using old maps, county fair records, newspaper clippings and nursery sales ledgers that can tell them which homesteader bought what apple tree and when the purchase happened.

The task is huge. North America once had 17,000 named varieties of domesticated apples, but only about 4,500 are known to exist today. With the 10 latest varieties identified, Brandt and Benscoter have rediscovered a total of 23 varieties. The latest finds include the Sary Sinap, an ancient apple from Turkey; the Streaked Pippin, which may have originated as early as 1744 in New York; and the Butter Sweet of Pennsylvania, a variety that was first noted in a trial orchard in Illinois in 1901.

Read more at APnews

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Farmer forced to dump 17,000 gallons of milk

Farmers in North Carolina are dumping fresh milk they can’t sell during the coronavirus pandemic. Homeland Creamery supplies milk to restaurants and coffee shops. Many of those establishments are closed. There is a 65-percent decrease in total milk sales. Because there’s no one to buy milk in bulk, Bowman said he has no choice but dump it in a pasture down the road. Bowman said he’s dumped 17,000 gallons of fresh milk since the pandemic began. I would say probably about $160,000 if I had to put a dollar figure on it.

Dumping the milk is the worst. That’s the profit going down the drain.

In the meantime, to keep business afloat, Bowman opened up a drive-thru at his creamery, selling small quantities of milk, homemade ice-cream, and other items.

Read more at WBTV

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The One Health Act: human health, animal health and the environment .

Human health, animal health, and the environment are all interconnected. There is a need for national framework that interconnects all of the federal agencies and departments to better prepare for, respond to and ultimately prevent the spread of diseases. The One Health Act requires the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Agriculture, in coordination with other specified agencies and departments including the Centers for Disease Control, State Department and Department of Commerce, to create a plan for addressing zoonotic disease outbreaks like coronaviruses.

This plan, called the One Health Framework, will outline how agencies share information and engage in fieldwork to help better prevent, prepare for and respond to zoonotic disease outbreaks. Zoonotic diseases – or illnesses that spread between animals and humans – can be fatal. We cannot wait for another catastrophic disease such as the coronavirus to come about before taking unified action to prevent and address these illnesses

Read more at Successful Farming

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Save more, spend less to be shoppers’ new mantra

Shoppers are likely to cut back sharply on discretionary spending after the lockdown, sacrificing outings to malls, restaurants, and salons to save up for immediate needs such as health and hygiene products. The online survey was conducted by Nielsen between 10 April and 14 April among 1,330 people in 23 cities. The findings indicate that the future is tilting toward home-cooked meals rather than eating out. Hygiene has become a big issue with increased awareness and is likely to remain the trend once the pandemic is over. Even if normalcy returns and the lockdown is relaxed, people will not be comfortable in crowded places, including airlines, restaurants, clubs, and metros. The importance of preventive healthcare will grow in consumer priorities because of the covid-19 pandemic. E-commerce has seen exponential growth and this will continue. However, after the coronavirus outbreak and the ensuing lockdown, kirana stores have made a comeback.

Read more at LiveMint