May 1, 2024 Issue


Vegetable Canning Sector Faces Challenges from Imports, Tariffs

The president of the Midwest Food Products Association says the U.S. has become a net importer of food, and it’s hurting processors and farmers. Jason Culotta tells Brownfield the recent announcements of ConAgra’s Bird’s Eye frozen foods plant in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin and the Del Monte canning plant in Markesan, Wisconsin are not the only planned shutdowns. “We have another canning plant that’s being closed in Washington state. A large operation in Delaware as well.” Culotta says the industry is seeing some slower times, and on the canning side, the real issue has been the cost of the metal can ever since the 2018 beginning of former President Trump’s 20% tariff on foreign steel. MORE

US Economy Grew by Just 1.6% in the First Quarter, a Much Slower Pace than Expected

The US economy cooled more than expected in the first quarter of the year, but remained healthy by historical standards. Economic growth has slowed steadily over the past 12 months, which bodes well for lower interest rates, but the Federal Reserve has made it clear it’s in no rush to cut rates. MORE

Source: MN Chamber

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U.S. Shuns Free Trade Agreements Canadian farm groups used to fret that Canada was falling behind the United States in signing free trade agreements. They can now rest easy because the U.S. is no longer negotiating those types of pacts, much to the chagrin of U.S. farm groups. MORE

Source: Constitution Partners

Strict New EPA Rules Would Force Coal-Fired Power Plants to Capture Emissions or Shut Down

Coal-fired power plants would be forced to capture smokestack emissions or shut down under a rule issued Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency. New limits on greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel-fired electric plants are the Biden administration’s most ambitious effort yet to roll back planet-warming pollution from the power sector, the nation’s second-largest contributor to climate change. MORE


Source: IMA

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Agriculture Emissions Fall to Lowest Levels In 10 Years

America’s farmers and ranchers are leading the way in greenhouse gas emission reduction through voluntary conservation efforts and market-based incentives. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2022. The report shows American agriculture reduced emissions by almost 2% from 2021 to 2022, the largest decrease of any economic sector. MORE

Source: Constitution Partners

Front-Of-Package Labels: A New Era of Transparency in The Food Industry?

Even in supermarkets with the most kaleidoscopic array of items -- dozens of cereals, a wall of jams in glass jars, a parade of soup cans -- there’s relatively little variation in how those foods are packaged. On the front of a can or box is the main label, containing the product name and maybe some zesty marketing copy, while nutrition information is organized in a standardized panel on the back. However, this hasn’t always been the case. MORE

Source: MBS

Regulatory Challenges Facing the Snack Industry

Challenges to the snack industry including regulations about sodium reduction, front-of-pack labeling, concerns about ultra-processed foods and more were on the agenda at an education session at SNAC International’s SNX conference, which was held April 14-16. Martin Hahn, general counsel for SNAC International and partner at Hogan Lovells, spoke at “Surveying the Regulatory Landscape” and covered several topics that could affect snack makers. MORE

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Federal Program Gets More Money for Fruits and Vegetables

The federal program that helps pay for groceries for millions of low-income mothers, babies and young kids will soon emphasize more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, as well as provide a wider choice of foods from different cultures. MORE

Source: CLFP

FDA Commissioner Asks Congress to Clear a Path for CBD

Speaking before a U.S. House of Representatives oversight committee yesterday (April 11), FDA Commissioner Robert Califf renewed the agency’s year-old request that Congress devise a way for CBD to be sold as a dietary supplement and possibly a food ingredient, an action the food and drug safety agency doesn’t think it can take under its current structure. MORE


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Will a Break-In Put the Brakes on the Minnesota DFL’s State Government Trifecta?

The tie-breaking vote in the Minnesota Senate, the vote that seals the DFL’s trifecta in state government, appeared in court on first-degree burglary charges this week. During the early morning hours on April 22, state Sen. Nicole Mitchell was arrested in her stepmother’s home in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. The criminal complaint says she wore dark clothes, put a sock on a flashlight and entered the home through a basement window. MORE

Source: Fluence Media

Complimentary Live Webinar

Hosted by Michael Best May 8 12 PM (Central)

(Over)time is of the Essence: How to Comply with the New DOL Salary Thresholds under the FLSA

Registration (

Details Below:

On April 23, 2024 the Department of Labor announced a final rule that significantly increased the salary thresholds required to qualify for the Executive, Administrative, and Professional (“EAP”) and Highly-Compensated Employee (“HCE”) exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Both thresholds will phase in over the next several months, with the EAP threshold increasing to $844 per week ($43,888 annually) effective July 1, 2024. Similarly, the HCE threshold will increase to $132,964 as of July 1, 2024, and $151,164 as of January 1, 2025.  

This webinar will cover:

  • The DOL’s increase to the salary thresholds for employees to be exempt under the EAP and HCE exemptions of the FLSA. 
  • The newly created mechanism to automatically update the thresholds every three years. 
  • Steps employers can take to prepare for the upcoming deadlines.
  • The odds of a successful legal challenge.

We will apply for CLE credit in WI, CO, IL, NC, TX, UT, and VA (if applicable). If you are seeking CLE credit, please provide the applicable state(s) and bar number(s) in the registration form.

General Mills buys European Pet Food Business Edgard & Cooper 

General Mills Inc. (NYSE: GIS) on Tuesday said it has acquired Edgard & Cooper, a European pet food business, the latest in a series of deals by the Minnesota company to boost its business in the growing pet market. MORE

Source: MN Chamber

General Mills Opens 1.3 million Square-Foot Distribution Center in Belvidere

General Mills held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday to officially dedicate the facility at 1210 Irene Road, which is expected to employ 55 to 75 people. Phill West, senior director of planning, logistics and customer fulfillment for General Mills, said the distribution center is a key site for the company. MORE

Source: IMA

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General Mills Unveils Progress with Sustainability Goals

General Mills has achieved several sustainability-related milestones such as surpassing the halfway mark to shifting one million acres to regenerative agriculture, decreasing Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 51% and using 93% reusable or recyclable packaging, according to the company's 2023 Global Responsibility Report. MORE

Source: CBA

McCain Increases Investment Stake in Ireland Frozen Veggie Company Strong Roots

Toronto-based McCain Foods has announced an investment to strengthen its stake in Strong Roots, a Dublin, Ireland-based frozen foods producer with whom McCain has partnered since 2021. McCain plans to expand its product offering, bringing vegetable-forward, environmentally responsible food choices to more consumers around the world, the announcement noted. MORE


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Lyco Adds 3rd Expansion to Columbus Plant

Lyco Manufacturing Inc. has added a third expansion onto its Columbus plant. This new space will increase manufacturing capabilities for its food processing machinery to over 100,000 square feet of operational area. Lyco services a variety of food production applications, including 50 of the top 100 food companies in North America. The company’s latest expansion will be completed in May. MORE

Fairchild Equipment Donates Utility Vehicle to St. Norbert College Athletics

In a gesture that highlights community support and commitment to local athletics, Fairchild Equipment has donated a Cushman Hauler 1200 commercial utility vehicle to the athletics department at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. The official ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on April 16, at the Mel Nicks Sports Complex on campus, enhancing the college’s sports infrastructure. MORE

Savvy Shopper Alert!

What do re-purposing leftovers, making a shopping list, and keeping frozen and canned fruits and veggies on hand have in common? They are all savvy strategies to save time and money! Big Y Foods registered dietitian Carrie Taylor is sharing clever tips to get the most bang for your buck while shopping for the meals you love. MORE

Source: PBH Foundation


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Popular Snacks Risk Being Banned Over Cancer-linked Ingredients

Thousands of popular snacks and classic candies could be banned in several states due to cancer-causing chemicals in their ingredients. Some foods that risk being banned are cereals such as Lucky Charms and Froot Loops; candies including Skittles, Nerds, M&M’s and Swedish Fish; and snacks like Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and Doritos. MORE

Source:  WMC

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The Embedded AI Food and Beverage Manufacturers Already Own

Constrained by an industry-wide shortage of skilled labor, food and beverage manufacturers have begun tapping ChatGPT and other generative artificial intelligence tools to partially automate the creation of work instructions, operating manuals and even job descriptions. MORE

Source: CLFP

Save the Date! 2024 Meetings & Events

View 2024 MWFPA Sponsorship Opportunities - HERE

June 3 - Exhibitor booth registration for the 2024 MWFPA Convention begins!

June 5 - MWFPA Spring Summit hosted at Kalahari Convention Center

June 6 - MWFPA Annual Scramble hosted at Trappers Turn

  • REGISTER - Please note we are now sold out of spots to golf but members may still register to attend for meals/networking at this event!

August 14 - Raw Products Field Trial at Hancock

October 8 - Sporting Clays Classic hosted at Woods & Meadow in Warrens, WI

December 3 - Processing Crops Conference

December 3-5 - MWFPA Convention & Expo

Kalahari Resort & Convention Center, Wisconsin Dells




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