#AgAlerts: Property rights; food waste; livestock farm limitations; China

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A roundup of news, reports, and research on agribusiness and related issues.

Neighbors could no longer formally complain about the smell of a chicken house, noise of a tractor or any other alleged nuisance on farms in Georgia that have been operating for at least a year under a bill proposed in the state House. Legislators are looking to balance the needs of the state’s top industry with the concerns of property owners who may be negatively affected by living near a farm. Under House Bill 545, property owners would lose the right to bring a nuisance suit, or a legal complaint about noise, odor or a similar issue, against an agricultural operation if the agricultural business has been operating for at least a year. 

A new study published in the peer-reviewed Manufacturing & Service Operations Management journal argues that increasing a neighborhood’s proximity to supermarkets would encourage its residents to shop more frequently, while purchasing less food each trip. Down the line, this would mitigate the high rate of spoilage resulting from buying bulk quantities of perishable food in one go. The tradeoff? More stores servicing smaller areas would also lead to increased retail-level food waste. That’s because individual businesses would find it harder to predict and stock the food that fewer customers want on a day-to-day basis. Nonetheless, up until a certain point—the study calls it the “optimal” density of stores in a neighborhood—the amount of food waste saved within households would still exceed the amount incurred at the business level.

As the number of massive livestock farms balloons in states like Iowa, Maryland, and Nebraska, communities are scrambling to figure out how to control the pollution and waste produced by thousands — or tens of thousands — of animals. In some places, officials have opted to ban the mega-farms altogether, and the idea of a moratorium on the biggest animal farms is gaining support in local governments, statehouses, and even in Congress. 

What's the biggest result of the spread of African Swine Fever, an increased demand for poultry production around the world, according to one world protein specialist. Nan-Dirk Mulder, a Global Protein Specialist for Rabobank, presented the lecture “Insights, risks and opportunities within the Poultry Industry” recently at the International Producing and Processing Expo. In his presentation, Mulder laid out a case that the biggest impact of the swine fever is the increased interest in poultry markets. Mulder sees the drop in hog production resulted in more demand for poultry and higher chicken production all over the world.

China announced on Thursday that it will halve additional tariffs on US$75 billion of American products imposed late last year from next week, a sign that Beijing is implementing the phase one deal with United States despite the coronavirus outbreak. Beijing will cut a 10 percent punitive tariff to 5 percent, and a 5 percent tariff to 2.5 percent on February 14, according to China’s Ministry of Finance.