News

  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 06/21/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Bee Research Laboratory and Geezer Ridge Farm apiary have begun an unusual partnership that may help honey bees take another step up the survival ladder.

    “Usually with science, researchers finish a study and turn the results over to beekeepers to apply; then researchers start on the next experiments and so on,” explains entomologist Jay Evans, research leader of the Beltsville, Maryland lab and one of the USDA’s pioneers in bee health science.

    This time, the Bee Research Lab is studying the success Geezer Ridge Farm in Hedgesville, West Virginia, has had improving honey bee health after applying USDA research results.

    Last winter, beekeepers Cheryl and Ed Forney lost only 4 percent of their bee colonies compared to the national average of 30 percent.

    “We believe strongly in science-based beekeeping. It’s the Bee Research Lab—some of the most talented and published researchers in the ...

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 06/21/2016 by Dudley W Hoskins

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced updates to the Scrapie Free Flock Certification Program (SFCP) standards, which are effective May 1, 2016.

    A brief summary of the major updates to the program are also available on the APHIS SFCP Web page.  The basic structure of the program has not changed. There are still two categories in the SFCP: the Export Category (with Export Monitored flocks and Export Certified flocks), and the Select Category (Select Monitored flocks).  The updates address/clarify:

    • Sampling requirements, advancement, and genotyping lambs/kids in genetically resistant flocks;
    • Veterinary inspection of cull animals;
    • Imported embryos/oocytes;
    • Animals originating from Inconsistent States;
    • Special circumstances involving “Lost to Inventory” and “Found Dead” animals; and

    Reporting requirements for the use of milk/colostrum from a lower status flock.

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 06/21/2016 by Dudley W Hoskins

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a letter reminding retail establishments that sell medically important antimicrobials for use in feed or water for food animals that the marketing status of those products will change from over-the-counter (OTC) to prescription (Rx) or to veterinary feed directive (VFD) at the end of calendar year 2016. Once the changes are in place, distributors of those medically important antimicrobials will need to comply with appropriate requirements for Rx and VFD drugs when dispensing these products. The letter also provides retail establishments with recommendations for addressing current and future inventory of medically important antimicrobials for use in feed or water for food animals.

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 06/21/2016 by Dudley W Hoskins
    National Pollinator Week & “MP3 Symposium” Materials Available

    The 2016 National Pollinator Week is officially underway, and there are a number of pollinator-related activities taking place in DC.  As a follow-up to the “MP3 Symposium” NASDA co-hosted with EPA, USDA and the Honey Bee Health Coalition in March, there are a number of summaries and materials from the Symposium now available on the HBHC Managed Pollinator Protection Resources website.  We are working with our co-hosts to continue to update these resources as more information becomes available. View all of NASDA's pollinator resources at www.nasda.org/pollinators.aspx.

    In addition to a number of Congressional events, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is hosting its Pollinator Festival this Friday, and EPA is hosting a webinar on Pollinator Habitat & Food Security this Thursday at 1:00 PM (ET).

    Photo Caption: NASDA CEO Dr. Barbara P. Glenn with Alan Ayers (Bayer CropScience) next to wild Maine blueberries pollinated by bumblebees (pictured) and ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 06/21/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    NASDA Now Seeking Nominations for Annual Honor Awards; All State Department of Agriculture Employees Eligible to Nominate

    We are now accepting nominations for an important part of our annual meeting program, the NASDA Honor Awards. Since 1972, NASDA has conducted its honor awards program for employees of the state departments of agriculture. The deadline to submit nominations is Friday, July 15, 2016 at 5:00 PM EDT. Click here for a full description of awards including purpose, basis for selection, eligibility, and materials required for nomination. This year we have expanded the reach of our awards by adding the NASDA Ambassador's Circle Award for any stakeholder (farmer, rancher, government official, academia, alumni, industry leader, etc.) who has furthered the mission of NASDA.

    Caption: Casey McCue, Director of New York State Dairy Industry Services, was presented with the Douglass-Irvin Administration Award in 2012. Then Commissioner Darrell Aubertine nominated Casey for his outstanding leadership during recent natural disasters and ability to accomplish goals despite strained resources due to ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 06/21/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    South Dakota: Governor Names Mike Jaspers Secretary Of Agriculture

    Gov. Dennis Daugaard recently announced that he has appointed Mike Jaspers of rural Minnehaha County to serve as South Dakota’s Secretary of Agriculture. Jaspers will begin July 5, 2016.

    “I am very excited to have Mike serve as ag secretary,” Gov. Daugaard said. “His background in agriculture production, policy and administration makes him a great fit to lead the department.”

    “I am honored that Gov. Daugaard has given me this opportunity,” Jaspers said. “I look forward to working with the men and women who make agriculture our state’s No. 1 industry.”

    A native of northeast South Dakota, Jaspers operates a diversified crop and livestock farm in McCook, Hutchinson and Marshall counties. He received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanized Agriculture from South Dakota State University in 1993.

    In addition to operating his farm and holding management positions in several agricultural businesses, Jaspers served in the South ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 06/07/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    By. Rep. Michael Conaway, Rep. Collin Peterson, and Rep. Chellie Pingree
    This op-ed originally appeared in Roll Call.

    Have you ever gotten into an argument about whether a carton of eggs are still good even though the date on the label has passed? It's happened in our households and we bet it's happened in yours.  

    Although it seems like a harmless domestic disagreement, the truth is when you throw away perfectly good food simply because the date has passed, that food is wasted. While date labels are intended as a marketing tool to convey to consumers peak quality, they are often confused with issues of food safety leading consumers to discard perfectly safe food.  

    Most of that wasted food ends up in landfills. In fact, food is the largest single source of waste in municipal landfills.  

    And the amount of food that goes to waste is increasing every year. This is a significant problem, but it's also a significant opportunity. While all this food is being ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 06/07/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    Member Spotlight: Doug Fisher, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture

    As part of our centennial celebrations, NASDA is starting a new feature in NASDA News to highlight our members. This week's feature is New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Doug Fisher. Secretary Fisher is currently serving on the NASDA Board of Directors as the Northeastern Regional representative. Secretary Fisher has been a member of NASDA since 2009.

    1. How do you start your day?
      Every day starts with combing the media and speaking with personal contacts for information related to agriculture that might impact our work in the Department. That can be anything from the weather report (especially during our growing and harvesting season) to animal-disease outbreaks to school nutrition, and many other topics. Then it’s off to our state capital, Trenton, where our main Department offices are located. Once there, I’ll speak with our various Division Directors and other key staff to address any hot issues that must be dealt with that day or in the near future.
       
    2. ...
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  • Britt  Aasmundstad Posted on 06/07/2016 by Britt Aasmundstad

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced yesterday that the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) will provide an estimated $300 million in cost-share assistance payments to cotton producers through the new Cotton Ginning Cost-Share program, in order to expand and maintain the domestic marketing of cotton.

    “Today's announcement shows USDA continues to stand with America’s cotton producers and our rural communities,” said Vilsack. “The Cotton Ginning Cost Share program will offer meaningful, timely and targeted assistance to cotton growers to help with their anticipated ginning costs and to facilitate marketing. The program will provide, on average, approximately 60 percent more assistance per farm and per producer than the 2014 program that provided cotton transition assistance.”

    Through the Cotton Ginning Cost-Share program, eligible producers can receive a one-time cost share payment, which is based on a producer’s 2015 cotton acres reported to ...

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  • Charlie Ingram Posted on 06/07/2016 by Charlie Ingram

    USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) announced that effective June 4, Hubert Hamer, Jr., will be the new Acting Administrator of the agency and will take over as the new Administrator effective June 12. The announcement follows the retirement of Joe Reilly who served as Administrator for the past two years during his 40 year career with NASS.  

    Hubert Hamer has a deep background at NASS in producing the timely, accurate and useful statistics in service to agriculture for which the agency, and USDA as a whole is well known. Hubert previously served as Director of NASS’ Statistics Division. In that capacity, he has led the agency’s efforts to produce and release more than 450 national statistical reports each year. Additionally, he has served as Executive Director of the NASS Agricultural Statistics Board (ASB) and Executive Director of the Advisory Committee on Agriculture Statistics. Before assuming that position in February 2014, he was Chair ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 06/07/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    By: Stephen Ostroff, M.D.

    The promises embodied in the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) add up to this: The foods that we eat and serve our families must be as safe as we can make them.

    These promises mandate that food be produced, packed and transported with an awareness of potential hazards and a commitment to taking whatever systematic steps are necessary to eliminate or greatly reduce any risks. They envision a world in which families can share foods produced halfway around the world, knowing that they are held to the same rigorous safety standards as those produced in the United States.

    The past nine months have seen the finalization of the seven rules that make FSMA’s promises a reality – for both domestic and imported foods. The last of those rules, one that adds protections against intentional adulteration, became final on May 27. Together, and individually, these rules represent a paradigm shift from simply responding to outbreaks of ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 06/07/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    The Organic Trade Association recently released conclusive research that for the first time links economic health at the county level to organic agriculture, and shows that organic food and crop production–and the business activities accompanying organic agriculture–creates real and long-lasting regional economic opportunities.

    The recently completed White Paper, titled “U.S. Organic Hotspots and their Benefit to Local Economies,” was prepared for the Organic Trade Association (OTA) by Penn State Agricultural Economist Dr. Edward  Jaenicke. It finds organic hotspots–counties with high levels of organic agricultural activity whose neighboring counties also have high organic activity–boost median household incomes by an average of $2,000 and reduce poverty levels by an average of 1.3 percentage points.

    “We know that organic agriculture benefits our health and our environment,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of OTA. ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 06/07/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    NASDA Welcomes Kentuckian Mallie Myers as Summer Intern

    NASDA is excited to welcome our newest team member, Mallie Myers, as our summer policy intern.

    Myers joins NASDA from the Commonwealth of Kentucky, where she grew up gardening and raising beef cattle on her family’s row crop farm. Myers will complete her undergraduate degree in Agricultural Economics with minors in Business and Political Science at the University of Kentucky this fall and plans to attend law school the following year.  She keeps busy by serving as the University of Kentucky’s Chi Omega chapter Vice President, an officer in the Agricultural Economics Department’s Agribusiness Club, and a volunteer with Ronald McDonald House Charities. Myers’ prior work experience includes internships in environmental remediation services and banking companies, as well as a position with a medical malpractice defense firm in Lexington, KY. Mallie demonstrates great respect for the power of agriculture in her home state and across the nation, and is eager to ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 06/07/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    By

    No one today lives and works closer to our land and water than America's farmers. As agriculture secretaries and commissioners from Chesapeake Bay region states, we value and strongly appreciate the contributions that our 141,000 farmers make—in jobs and economic impact, in environmental stewardship, and in producing food for our region, nation and the world.

    Among our five states—Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia—there are more than 9 million acres of harvested cropland, or roughly the same size as 4.4 million city blocks. Our farmers raise more than 1 billion chickens for meat each year, grow fruits and vegetables on more than 143,000 acres, and produce enough milk to supply nearly a quarter of the U.S. population.

    These incredible numbers stem directly from the hard work and dedication of our farm ...

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  • Nathan  Bowen Posted on 06/01/2016 by Nathan Bowen

    Today, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that US Army Corps of Engineers wetland delineations can be challenged in court. The Corps makes jurisdictional determinations (JD) which decide which wetlands are subject to Clean Water Act (CWA) permitting. The ruling upholds a US Court of Appeals ruling that JDs are final agency actions reviewable under the Administrative Procedures Act. See NASDA’s efforts to block the WOTUS rule, which expands CWA jurisdiction, here.

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  • Britt  Aasmundstad Posted on 06/01/2016 by Britt Aasmundstad

    Last week, Minnesota and Land O’Lakes announced a public-private partnership to help farmers improve water quality across Minnesota. “This important partnership will be critical to expanding conservation and water quality protections to more farms across the state,” said Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. 

    “Water is a finite resource, and we are pleased to partner with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the State of Minnesota on this first-of-its-kind public-private partnership to protect and enhance water quality across the state,” said Chris Policinski, President & CEO, Land O’Lakes, Inc. The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program is a voluntary opportunity for farmers and agricultural landowners to take the lead in implementing conservation practices that protect our water. 

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 06/01/2016 by Dudley W Hoskins
    EPA Farm, Ranch and Rural Community Committee Meets

    The EPA’s Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee (FRRCC) met last week in Washington DC to draft recommendations on EPA’s role in soil health in response to Administrator McCarthy’s charge to the Committee.

    NASDA submitted oral comments to the Committee requesting the FRRCC consider recommending EPA make additional investments in resources and personnel within the Agency’s Agricultural Advisors across all EPA Regions.

    Picture from left to right: NASDA Public Policy Counsel, Dudley Hoskins; EPA Counselor to the Administrator for Agricultural Policy, Ron Carleton; and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey.

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 06/01/2016 by Dudley W Hoskins

    Last Friday, NASDA sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy requesting the Agency take immediate corrective actions relating to the premature posting of EPA’s preliminary report on the ecological risk assessment of Atrazine.   

    NASDA expressed significant concerns with: (1) the Agency’s mishandling of this information; (2) the substantive scientific shortcomings included in the preliminary risk assessment; and (3) the implications EPA’s actions, or lack thereof, may have on U.S. agricultural producers. 

    NASDA is requesting EPA’s timely response to these concerns before the Agency takes any further actions with its registration review, and NASDA stands ready to assist EPA in ensuring our growers have access to a broad range of technologies and crop protection tools, reviewed and approved in scientifically-sound and transparent manner, needed to continue to produce our nation’s food, fiber, and fuel.

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 06/01/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    Genetically engineered (GE) crops have been the topic of much debate since their introduction into the food system in the mid-1990s. Claims and research that extol both the benefits and risks of GE crops have created a confusing landscape for the public and for policy makers.

    However, according to a recent National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) report, Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects, the science is clear: “There is no persuasive evidence of adverse health effects directly attributable to consumption of foods derived from GE crops.”

    “Crop scientists and the public both want safe and nutritious food without destroying the environment,” says Mike Grusak, president of the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA). “As scientists we use many tools to achieve these goals, including genetic engineering and conventional breeding,”

    “We applaud the hard work of the National Academies in producing this ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 06/01/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    Arizona: Egg Company Moves Closer to Production

    Arizona’s agriculture businesses are growing across the state, including a new egg-producing facility in LaPaz County.  Rose Acre Farms expects to be in production this fall, eventually hiring 80 to 100 people.

    On May 19th Rose Acre Farms and the LaPaz Economic Development Corporation hosted the Department of Agriculture on a tour of its Arizona egg farm.  The foundations are in and the company is building the houses.  Rose Acre Farms expects to produce eggs at the Lone Cactus Egg Farm this fall.

    “We’re very excited to have Rose Acre Farms in Arizona,” said Mark Killian, director of the Department of Agriculture.  “It’s an incredible facility that shows food safety is a priority.  They’re able to keep the eggs safe while the chickens are free to move around in the cage-free design.”

    The La Paz Economic Development Corporation has worked for 3 years with the Indiana-based egg producer to expand to Arizona.

    ...

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