News

  • Bob  Ehart Posted on 04/14/2015 by Bob Ehart

    In 2010, 1,939 illnesses were linked to a salmonella outbreak caused by eggs from the Quality Egg Company. At the time, CDC officials estimated that as many as 56,000 people may have been sickened in this incident. On Monday, in a Sioux City, Iowa federal courtroom, Austin "Jack" DeCoster and his son, Peter DeCoster, two former egg company executives, were sentenced to three months in jail for their roles in that major 2010 salmonella outbreak. For more information on this case, see the Des Moines Register article or other media on this case.

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 04/14/2015 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    United States Trade Representative Michael Froman and U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker recently released a new report that shows that the number of jobs supported by goods exports continues to rise in states across the country. The report also includes individual success stories, in all 50 states, of small and medium sized businesses that are using exports to expand their businesses and support well-paying American jobs.

    View the interactive map here.

    “This report shows that the President’s trade agenda puts American workers first,” said U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman. “In every state across the country good-paying jobs are tied to “Made in America” exports. This report also tells the story of American small businesses that will benefit from tearing down trade barriers in markets around the globe, and this is where we see a lot of opportunity for growth and more trade supported jobs. With the Trans-Pacific Partnership we ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 04/14/2015 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    The USDA is seeking nominations to fill five vacancies on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).

    Vacancies for the 15-member organic standards board include: two farmers, two consumer/public interest representatives, and one USDA accredited certifying agent. The positions are specifically designated to represent various sectors of the organic community. Appointees will serve a 5-year term of office beginning January 24, 2016.

    The NOSB is an advisory committee of organic community representatives established by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. The board recommends whether substances should be allowed or prohibited in organic production or handling, assists in developing standards for substances to be used in organic production, and advises the Secretary of Agriculture on other aspects of the organic regulations.

    To read the full press release, click here.

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  • Nathan  Bowen Posted on 04/14/2015 by Nathan Bowen

    The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will markup legislation tomorrow that would direct EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw their proposed Waters of the U.S. rulemaking. The Regulatory Integrity Protection Act (H.R. 1732), which was introduced by Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Rep. Robert Gibbs (R-OH), would also direct the agencies to initiate dialogue with state and local governments and impacted stakeholders before proposing a new rule.

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  • Bob  Ehart Posted on 04/14/2015 by Bob Ehart

    In January, the Food Safety Implementation Act (FSMA) celebrated its 4th birthday. FDA has proposed seven major rules implementing the effort, with final rules expected later this year. FDA has scheduled a public meeting to provide information regarding FSMA implementation plans. The public meeting will be held in Washington, DC April 23 – 24, 2015. The meeting is being called the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act: Focus on Implementation Strategy for Prevention –Oriented Food Safety Standards Public Meeting. More information on this meeting, including an agenda, should be available shortly. Public attendance is available via webinar only and early registration is encouraged. Two panels during the event will include stakeholder comments from Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross, on behalf of NASDA, Joe Corby, Executive Director, AFDO, and more. The meeting will also have several breakout sessions where participants will have an opportunity to advise FDA. The meeting ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 04/14/2015 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    Vermont: New Survey Will Help Farmers Prepare for FSMA Produce Safety Rule

    The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets (VAAFM) is working with farmers to help prepare for implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

    FSMA is the most sweeping reform of our nation’s food safety laws in more than 70 years, and was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. FSMA aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.

    Today, the Agency is announcing the launch of the Vermont Produce Safety Survey & Interactive FSMA Resource, to help farmers determine how they may be impacted by FDA’s Produce Safety Rule.

    All Vermont farmers who grow, harvest, pack, or hold fresh produce—even if primarily engaged in another type of farming—are encouraged to take this survey. Information collected through the survey will help VAAFM understand how the Produce Safety Rule will affect Vermont farms and prepare to assist farmers before the rule is implemented. ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 04/14/2015 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    Governor Doug Ducey recently announced the appointment of Mark Killian as director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture.

    "I'm pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Killian to lead the Arizona Department of Agriculture," said Governor Ducey. "Mark brings decades of unique public service and private sector experience, and his extensive and successful background in farming and ranching will be hugely valuable in this role. He's a welcome addition to this department and our administration."

    Mr. Killian has been a member of the Arizona Board of Regents since 2010, currently serving as chairman and previously as vice chairman and treasurer. Prior to joining ABOR, he was director of the Arizona Department of Revenue and served for 14 years in the Arizona State Legislature, including as Speaker of the House and House Majority Leader.

    Mr. Killian also has decades of private sector experience. He is a licensed commercial real estate broker of more than 32 ...

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  • DeWitt  Ashby Posted on 04/14/2015 by DeWitt Ashby
    Limited Exhibit Space Available at NASDA's U.S. Food Showcase

    Limited exhibit space is still available in NASDA’s U.S. Food Showcase (USFS), a pavilion in the Food Marketing Institute’s FMI Connect event, June 9-11 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. FMI represents more than 40,000 food retailers and 25,000 pharmacies in the U.S. and around the world. NASDA produces the USFS pavilion in cooperation with FMI with the support of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

    Domestic and international food industry buyers from more than 75 countries are in search of a variety of products at U.S. Food Showcase 2015, ranging from snack foods and baked goods to non-alcoholic beverages and frozen foods.

    Thousands of domestic and international retail buyers will be there looking for products that meet the demands of consumers in their markets.

    Visit tradeshows.nasda.org for more information on all three of NASDA's trade shows.

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 04/07/2015 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) recently announced funding awards totaling nearly $19 million, including more than $6.7 million for antimicrobial resistance strategies, to 36 grantees to ensure a safe and nutritious food supply and while maintaining American agricultural competitiveness. NIFA made the awards through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), which is authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

    “Increasing food safety continues to be a major focus for USDA, as it directly impacts the health and well-being of all Americans,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. “Funding provided to universities supports discoveries of new ways that we can prevent foodborne illnesses and increase the safety of our food production industry.”

    A state fact sheet of the grant money can be found here. To view the full press release, click here.

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  • Elizabeth  Rowland Posted on 04/07/2015 by Elizabeth Rowland
    NASDA Seeking Applications for Fall Internship Position

    NASDA is currently seeking highly motivated public policy interns interested in learning about the legislation and regulations that impact American agriculture. There is one internship position available for the fall semester (Aug - Dec).
    Applicants should be classified as a sophomore or greater by their academic institution and have excellent written and oral communication skills. A basic understanding of the legislative process is preferred but not required.
    Intern responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Conduct research on various legislative issues of importance to NASDA’s membership
    • Represent NASDA in Congressional hearings, conference calls, and other venues, and provide written analysis of these events to policy staff members
    • Write articles covering various agricultural issues for NASDA’s weekly newsletters
    • Manage logistics, provide operational support, and interface with senior state and federal ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 04/07/2015 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    For a second year in a row, U.S. growers are raising the bar on soybean acreage. Growers across the United States intend to plant an estimated record-high 84.6 million acres of soybeans in 2015, up 1 percent from the previous record set in 2014, according to the Prospective Plantings report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

    Increases of 200,000 acres or more are anticipated in Arkansas, Iowa, and Ohio. Compared with last year, the largest declines are expected in Kansas and Nebraska. If realized, soybean acreage will be the largest on record in Kentucky, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

    Driven by expectations of lower prices and returns in 2015, U.S. corn growers intend to plant 89.2 million acres in 2015, down 2 percent from last year and down 6 percent from 2013. If realized, this will be the lowest planted acreage since 2010. Countering this trend, Minnesota and ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 04/07/2015 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    Nebraska: NE Beef to Take Center Stage in New York City Next Week

    Nebraska beef will take center stage at several venues in New York City next week as Gov. Pete Ricketts leads a delegation of Nebraskans on the first domestic agriculture trade promotion event of his administration.

    Gov. Ricketts will be joined April 9-10 by Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Greg Ibach and a delegation of over 30 farmers and ranchers, food scientists, and processor representatives to promote Beef from Nebraska at three restaurants and a butcher shop.

    "Nebraska is home to open spaces and dedicated individuals who join together to create the quality beef products we will be highlighting," Ibach said. "The delegation taking part in this promotion represents the entire spectrum of the beef production chain. This will allow event-goers the opportunity to have frank conversations about Nebraska beef directly with the people who are producing it."

    Ibach is encouraging Nebraskans with family and friend connections in New York City to help ...

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  • Nathan  Bowen Posted on 04/07/2015 by Nathan Bowen

    As expected, EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers forwarded their final Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on Friday, initiating the beginning of the interagency review process that precedes final publication of the rule. The agencies have indicated the rule that was sent to OMB does include modifications in response to comments received during the comment period. However, the agencies have indicated they are unlikely to allow state co-regulators and other stakeholders an opportunity to review those changes and provide feedback on whether they address the host of concerns identified with the original rule. A final rule could be released in later this summer or fall.

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  • Nathan  Bowen Posted on 04/07/2015 by Nathan Bowen

    NASDA highlighted a host of federal funding priorities of importance to state departments of agriculture and agricultural producers around the country this week in its annual funding letter to House and Senate Appropriators this week. Among the many program areas included in the letter are funding for state implementation of new food safety requirements, support for National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), funding for important Foreign Agricultural Service export programs, and resources for states to develop pollinator protection plans.

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  • DeWitt  Ashby Posted on 04/07/2015 by DeWitt Ashby

    NASDA’s American Food Fair (AFF) pavilion at the annual National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago is sold out. The pavilion, which is happening May 16-19, is sponsored by NASDA and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service for the purpose of assisting U.S. exporters. The pavilion includes state participation from Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Kansas as well as the Food Export Association of the Midwest and the Specialty Food Association. The NRA Show, one of the most successful events in North American, features approximately 2,000 exhibitors showing a wide variety of food, beverage, and equipment products, and attracts more than 63,000 people including over 6,000 from outside the U.S.

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  • Bob  Ehart Posted on 04/07/2015 by Bob Ehart

    The World Health Organization (WHO) selected the slogan “From farm to plate, make food safe” for this year’s World Health Day, which is today, April 7th.

    WHO released initial findings from its Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (FERG) study, which is a broader ongoing analysis of the global burden of foodborne diseases. Initial figures, from 2010, show that an estimated 582 million cases of 22 different foodborne enteric diseases resulted in 351,000 associated deaths worldwide. For more information click here. Similar numbers for the US, as provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), estimate that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.

    The WHO also points out that on the consumer end of the food supply chain, the public plays important roles in promoting food safety, from practicing safe food hygiene and learning how to take care when ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 04/07/2015 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    Washington: WSDA hosts Summit to Educate and Energize Farm to School Partners

    Working together to serve school children Washington-grown food will be the focus of a statewide Farm to School Summit, called Putting Down Roots, hosted by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) on April 15-16 in Wenatchee. The event is also supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Washington State Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction (OSPI). The Summit will connect school nutrition directors with farmers, ranchers, processors, distributors, educators and advocates to collaborate on farm to school progress.

    “The Summit is perfectly timed to share a new USDA pilot program giving schools more flexibility to spend their federal dollars on locally grown fruits and vegetables,” said WSDA Farm to School lead Tricia Kovacs. “Washington is one of only eight states selected to participate, based on the strength of our existing farm to school efforts and our agricultural diversity. We at WSDA want to help farms, ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 03/31/2015 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    Gearing Up for Food Safety Modernization Act is Focus of Session for Northeastern-State Farmers

    More than 50 farmers, retailers, educators and regulatory officials who are part of New Jersey and Delaware’s produce industry gathered at the Rutgers EcoComplex to discuss the impending implementation of the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) on Monday, March 23.
    The consensus opinion: It’s real, it’s coming and all in the produce industry, from the farm to the fork, need to be prepared for it.

    “You don’t do food safety because the FDA says FSMA is here and you have to. You don’t do food safety because the retailers say you have to or I’m not going to buy from you. You do food safety to protect your business,” said Dr. Robert Whitaker, Chief Science and Technology Officer for the Produce Marketing Association.

    FSMA was passed by Congress in 2010 and signed into law by the President in 2011, following a series of foodborne illnesses linked to fresh produce, everything from spinach to peppers to cantaloupe. It expanded the ...

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  • Nathan  Bowen Posted on 03/31/2015 by Nathan Bowen

    USDA announced $332 million in financial and technical assistance through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will accept ACEP applications to help productive farm and ranch lands remain in agriculture and to protect the nation's critical wetlands and grasslands, home to diverse wildlife and plant species

    The 2014 Farm Bill consolidated three previous conservation easement programs into ACEP to make it easier for diverse agricultural landowners to fully benefit from conservation initiatives. NRCS easement programs have been a critical tool in recent years for advancing landscape-scale private lands conservation. In FY 2014, NRCS used $328 million in ACEP funding to enroll an estimated 145,000 acres of farmland, grassland, and wetlands through 485 new easements.

    ACEP's agricultural land easements not only protect the long-term viability of the nation's food supply by preventing conversion of productive ...

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 03/31/2015 by Dudley W Hoskins

    Last Friday, the White House released a National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria, which identifies “critical actions” the federal government will take to combat the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria. The Action Plan’s objective is "to enhance domestic and international capacity to prevent and contain outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant infections; maintain the efficacy of current and new antibiotics; and develop and deploy next-generation, diagnostics, antibiotics, vaccines, and other therapeutics."

    This National Strategy follows the Executive Order – Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, which the President issued last September, and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) Report to the President on Combating Antibiotic Resistance.

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