One plant worker was killed and four more injured as the result of an ammonia leak at the Mountaire Farms Lumber Bridge, N.C., plant. A ruptured ammonia line caused an explosion that killed Clifton Swain, 47, on Saturday. Plant workers were doing maintenance work on a piece of equipment at the time, AP reports.

The plant was scheduled to reopen on Monday and return to full operation, as the company announced that authorities inspected the building and declared it safe. The company was going to provide grief counselors for workers and hold an internal employee meeting.

Source: Associated Press

U.S.-E.U. deal may cause problems for other beef exporters

Several beef exporters have gone to the World Trade organization with their fears that a deal between the United States and the European Union would affect their export sales. The U.S. and the E.U. reached an agreement on May 6 to increase the European import for non-hormone-treated beef.

"In a word, the USA would move from having 19 percent of the quota for high-quality meat to 54 percent, and Uruguay and all other producers would now face a competitor with a unique and exclusive zero-duty tariff," Uruguay said, according to Reuters. Uruguay is one of several countries who have complained that the agreement would put them at a competitive disadvantage. Australia, Argentine, Brazil, India, Nicaragua and Paraguay also voiced their concerns.

Source: Reuters

ConAgra explosion will not affect 2010 financial results

The explosion at a Slim Jim plant in garner, N.C., that injured 38 and killed three workers will not have a major impact on ConAgra Foods’ 2010 financial results, the company announced. Federal investigators have said that a contractor clearing a natural gas line suring a water heater installation likely released a flammable clous that caused the blast, AP reports.

"The company maintains comprehensive property and general liability insurance policies with very significant loss limits that it believes will provide substantial and broad coverage for the currently foreseeable losses arising from this accident," the company said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Source: Associated Press

Vermont farmers experiment with feed changes to reduce cow methane

Vermont dairy farmers Tim Maikshilo and Kristen Dellert are two of the farmers working with Stonyfield Farm Inc. to change their cows’ diet and reduce the amount of gas the animals burp. Cow belches are the dairy industry’s largest contribution to greenhouse gas, according to AP reports, and the farmers are feeding them flaxseed, alfalfa and grasses high in Omega 3 fatty acids.

"I just figured a cow was a cow and they were going to do whatever they were going to do in terms of cow things for gas," said Dellert. "It was pretty shocking to me that just being organic wasn't enough, actually. I really thought that here we're organic, we're doing what we need to do for the planet, we're doing the stuff for the soil and I really thought that was enough."

Stonyfield’s Greener Cow Project states that feed items high in Omega 3s instead of corn or soy rebalces the cow’s rumen, the first stomach of ruminants, and cuts down on gas. Maikshilo and Dellert have not noticed any adverse effects on their cows, which are fed the custom-made grain in the winter and pasture grass in the summer. They have also noticed that the animals have fewer foot and stomach ailments, and the farm’s vet bills have decreased.

Source: Associated Press