News

  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 02/09/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    New Hampshire Commissioner of Agriculture Testifies on State GMO Labeling Bill

    New Hampshire Commissioner of Agriculture Lorraine Merrill recently testified in front of members of New Hampshire's House Environment and Agriculture Committee regarding House Bill 1674, a bill which require the labeling of genetically engineered foods. NASDA's policy statement on biotechnology can be found here.

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment on behalf of the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food (DAMF) regarding House Bill (HB) 1674 An Act requiring the labeling of genetically engineered foods. Promoting agriculture in the public interest, including advocating for agricultural literacy and an understanding of where our food comes from, is a core component of the department’s mission. The department recognizes the growing interest of consumers who want a better understanding of what they are eating, however HB 1674 does not advance that understanding, and DAMF does not support the bill as introduced.

    The bill proposes additions to RSA ...

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  • Britt  Aasmundstad Posted on 02/09/2016 by Britt Aasmundstad

    Today, President Obama sent his FY 2017 budget request to Congress. The $4 trillion spending plan heavily emphasizes agriculture research, funding the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) at $700 million. After the 2016 omnibus appropriated $104.5 million for FSMA, the 2017 request includes an additional $25.3 million for FSMA implementation, far below what is needed to implement new food safety requirements.. Further, the budget would cut $18 million from the federal crop insurance program. These cuts continue a trend of threats to federal crop insurance after the program was targeted by congressional appropriators last year.

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 02/09/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    Virginia: State Seeks Director, Division of Animal and Food Industry Services

    The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has an exciting employment opportunity for a Director of the Division of Animal and Food Industry Services/State Veterinarian to provide executive leadership and strategic management of the Division's statewide offices of Veterinary Services, Laboratory Services, Animal Care & Emergency Response, and Dairy and Food Safety Programs.

    This position serves as a member of the Agency's Executive Management Team providing leadership to achieve the Agency's mission and vision. The Division Director leads and directs a Deputy Division Director, Veterinarians, Scientists and compliance personnel engaged in insuring animal health, the control/eradication of animal diseases, management of the statewide animal health laboratory system, and food safety and security. This position is instrumental in developing and implementing animal health regulations and policies; developing and maintaining effective communication and ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 02/09/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    New Mexico: State Program that Certifies Organic Farms, Ranches, Other Food/Ag Businesses Turns 25

    This year marks the 25th anniversary of the state program that inspects and certifies farms, ranches, and other New Mexico businesses that want to label their food and agricultural products as organic.

    In 1991, the New Mexico Legislature created the Organic Commodity Commission.  It became known as the Organic Program in 2011 when the legislature relocated the program to NMDA.  The Organic Program offers nationally accredited organic certification for farmers, ranchers, and food processors throughout New Mexico, as well as application and marketing assistance.

    “Organic agriculture is doing well in New Mexico, with roughly 150 certified-organic farms, ranches, and other food and agricultural businesses that are certified,” New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte said.  “Each year, organic ag production and food processing in the state brings in about $50 million.”

    If recent years are any guide, approximately 800 people from the ...

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  • Britt  Aasmundstad Posted on 02/09/2016 by Britt Aasmundstad

    Last week, USDA announced the establishment of the NRCS Wetland Mitigation Banking Program. This program provides $9 million of Farm Bill funds to assist partners in developing wetland mitigation banks. These banks will specifically assist agriculture producers who need to mitigate wetland losses to maintain eligibility for USDA programs. USDA will host a webinar on February 10th at 3pm ET. Proposals are due March 28, 2016 and more information can be found here.

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 02/09/2016 by Dudley W Hoskins

    The USDA Secretary's Advisory Committee on Animal Health (SACAH) announced its next public meeting, which will take place February 23 through 25, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.

    The SACAH advises the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture on matters of animal health and broader issues of public concern. SACAH membership will represent the greater agricultural community and include, for example, animal welfare advocates; local and commercial livestock producers; small and minority farmers; and State and Tribal animal health officials. SACAH will consider and make recommendations on collateral issues involving public health, conservation of natural resources, and the stability of livestock economies.

    A final agenda will be posted on the Committee Web site by February 15, 2016. Questions may be directed to Mrs. R.J. Cabrera who is the Designated Federal Officer for the Committee with the USDA APHIS Veterinary Services in Riverdale, Maryland at 301 851 3478; e-mail: SACAH.Management@APHIS.USDA.gov

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 02/09/2016 by Dudley W Hoskins

    Yesterday, APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea announced Dr. Jack Shere as the Acting Chief Veterinary Officer and Deputy Administrator for Veterinary Services. 

    Dr. Shere is replacing Dr. John Clifford, who is now the Chief Trade Advisor for VS’ National Import Export Services, after 12 years as VS’ Deputy Administrator.  Dr. Shere joined VS in 1990 as a field veterinary medical officer in Nebraska and Wisconsin and has held many leadership positions since then, including Associate Western Regional Director from 2002 to 2005 and Eastern Regional Director from 2005 to 2013. More recently, Dr. Shere served as VS’ Associate Deputy Administrator since 2013.

    NASDA is grateful for Dr. Clifford’s partnership and service throughout his tenure as USDA CVO, and we congratulate him on his position as Chief Trade Advisor to NIES.  NASDA looks forward to working with Dr. Shere in his new assignment.

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 02/09/2016 by Dudley W Hoskins

    U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced an interim rule that outlines conditions for the payment of indemnity claims for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).  This interim rule is due to publish in the Federal Register in the coming week.

    The outbreak of HPAI in spring 2015 had profound impacts on poultry producers, allied industries, and federal and state governments.  APHIS learned a lot through the experience of responding to this emergency and through input from our State partners, industry, academia, and other stakeholders.  APHIS committed to examining any issues and modifying their processes where needed, and the publication of this interim rule is in line with that commitment. The interim rule:

    • Clarifies an existing policy that allows for the payment of indemnity for eggs destroyed by HPAI response;
    • Provides a formula to allow indemnity payments to be split between poultry and egg ...
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  • DeWitt  Ashby Posted on 02/09/2016 by DeWitt Ashby

    NASDA’s second trade show cooperative project with the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is the annual National Restaurant Association Show.  Founded in 1919, NRA is the U.S. foodservice industry’s leading trade association.  The NRA Show is one of the largest American trade shows and a premier event globally for the restaurant/foodservice sector. Please join us for our next American Food Fair Pavilion at the NRA Show in Chicago on May 21 - 24!

    Business Model

    Similar to NASDA’s relationship with the World Trade Center in Miami, the NASDA relationship with NRA rests on two bi-lateral relationships, NASDA’s participation in the FAS cooperator program and NASDA’s agreement with NRA to host an export pavilion inside the NRA Show.

    • NRA sells raw exhibit space to NASDA
    • NASDA re-sells the space to individual companies and NASDA members and produces the American Food Fair pavilion
    • FAS supports international attendance promotion ...
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  • Elizabeth  Rowland Posted on 01/27/2016 by Elizabeth Rowland
    NASDA Seeking Applicants for Summer Internship Position

    NASDA is currently accepting applications for our summer agriculture policy internship position.  If you know of any college student classified as a sophomore or greater who is interested in learning and working on the legislative and regulatory issues impacting American agriculture please encourage them to apply. The deadline to apply is Friday, February 26.  NASDA is also accepting applications for the fall and spring internship as well. For more information, please contact Elizabeth@nasda.org. To download a brochure about the program, click here.

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 01/27/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    The USDA recently announced that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will lead a trade mission March 14 to March 18 to expand export opportunities for U.S. agriculture in Peru and Chile.

    “Thanks to existing free trade agreements, the United States enjoys strong trading relationships with both Peru and Chile,” said Vilsack. “In addition, both nations are part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, whose implementation will boost the Peruvian and Chilean economies and tighten integration with the U.S. economy, helping further expand demand for U.S. agricultural products.”.

    The United States entered into a trade agreement with Peru in 2009 that slashed agricultural tariffs and improved market access for many U.S. products. As a result, U.S. farm and food exports to Peru have nearly tripled, reaching a record $1.25 billion in fiscal year 2015. In the Chilean market, all U.S. products enjoy duty-free access as of 2015, thanks to the free trade agreement enacted in 2004. ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 01/27/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    Real Food Films Contest Focuses Lens on Hunger Award

    Real Food Media is running an international competition for short films on food, farming and sustainability. In three years, they have amassed a collection of 60 powerful films that have been seen 1.4 million times online and watched at community-based events around the world, from New Zealand and Turkey to Chicago and San Francisco, and distributed through their media partners, online platforms like Vimeo and Upworthy, and Real Food Films Pop-Up Film Fests. 

    Real Food Media is excited to announce new prizes including a $5,000 special cash prize for a film focused on food and hunger. Winners in this category will be featured in their Lens on Hunger event series across the U.S. and Canada later this year. Entrants in this category could include films:

    • Exposing the root causes of hunger
    • Highlighting solution stories
    • Showcasing individuals, schools or organizations making a difference
    • Demonstrating creative ways to eat well on a limited budget
    • Storytelling about ...
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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 01/27/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    South Dakota: Growing in Agriculture - Succession Planning

    By Lucas Lentsch, Secretary of Agriculture

    Agriculture is a risky business. From the whims of weather to the often unpredictable nature of the commodity and livestock markets to the cost of inputs, there is much in agriculture we can’t control. Because of the uncertainty, it’s important to take the time to manage the things we can control. One thing all families involved in agriculture can do is take the time to sit down and discuss how your farm, ranch or agriculture related business will transition from one generation to the next.

    An important first step is preparing a team of advisors and putting together a schedule of succession planning meetings—a decision this important often can’t be made after only one discussion. Your succession planning team may include legal counsel, an accountant, a lender and those invested in the current and future success of your family operation. Sometimes those individuals extend beyond family. In some cases, families decide ...

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  • Nathan  Bowen Posted on 01/27/2016 by Nathan Bowen

    A new report from the Peterson Institute for International Economics shows the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would increase annual U.S. exports by $357 billion and national income by $131 billion by 2030. The report also finds the U.S. would be the agreement’s largest beneficiary in absolute terms. Further, the Peterson Institute claims a year delay in U.S. implementation of the agreement would cost the U.S. $77 billion in lost national income over the agreement’s implementation. 

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  • Britt  Aasmundstad Posted on 01/27/2016 by Britt Aasmundstad

    This week, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board released a report of findings and recommendations after the 2013 West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion. The report makes recommendations for EPA, OSHA and FEMA. The report listed key issues of regulatory oversight, fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate storage practices and emergency planning. OSHA issued a policy change last summer that would more strictly regulate anhydrous ammonia, not ammonium nitrate. NASDA is against this change, which goes into effect October 1st.

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 01/19/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    NASDA is pleased to endorse the Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016. The bill includes provisions to remove a burdensome waiver requirement which created additional hurdles for state departments of agriculture to efficiently administer child nutrition programs. NASDA supports the administration of child nutrition programs by state departments of agriculture due to their close ties to the American farmers and ranchers who are producing the food and tending the land which feeds millions of children per day. We encourage the House to also include these provisions in their bill.

    NASDA Members in Florida, New Jersey, Nevada, and Texas administer child nutrition programs.

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 01/19/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    Laboratory testing of samples from eight of nine Southern Indiana turkey flocks was completed overnight by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. While all nine were announced as H7 influenza-positive yesterday, the specific strain was yet to be determined. The Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) has been informed eight are low-pathogenic H7N8. Testing continues on the remaining sample.

    Avian influenza does not present a food safety risk; poultry and eggs are safe to eat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the risk of illness to humans to be very low.

    Indiana State Veterinarian Bret D. Marsh, DVM calls this good news, and evidence that Indiana’s aggressive surveillance and response efforts in Dubois County are working.

    “The low-path H7N8 virus was identified during testing in the 10-km zone around the initial flu-positive flock,” Dr. Marsh said. “Because flu viruses ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 01/19/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    NASDA Member Spotlight: Greg Ibach, Nebraska Department 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 Nebraska Director of Agriculture Greg Ibach. Director Ibach is currently serving NASDA as our 2015-2016 President and will be hosting our Annual Meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska.

    1. How do you start your day?
      I know how important it is to be connected in today’s age of technology and communication so the first thing I do when I wake up, sometimes even before I get out of bed, is grab my tablet and start scanning the top news and agriculture websites. I try to focus on the stories I know have the most impact on agriculture. By the time I am out of bed and getting that first cup of coffee I’m going through the myriad of emails all of us directors get each day.
       
    2. What do you think is missing from the conversation when we don’t have young people at the table and in leadership roles?
      Fresh ideas and youthful enthusiasm. For those ...
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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 01/19/2016 by Dudley W Hoskins

    The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is publishing a final rule updating its regulations for the export of live animals.  The updated regulations provide additional flexibility and better facilitate exports in today’s business environment, while continuing to ensure the health and welfare of the livestock.

    The new regulations update most of the requirements for export certifications, tests, and treatments.  APHIS will continue to retain certain export requirements that we consider necessary to ensure the health and welfare of the animals, such as issuance of export health certificates (EHCs) for livestock intended for export. 

    The final rule also includes the following changes:

    • If the importing country requires EHCs for animals other than livestock, hatching eggs or animal germplasm, then we would require such certificates.
    • Under certain circumstances, pre-export livestock inspection ...
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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 01/19/2016 by Dudley W Hoskins

    The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the pathogenicity of eight of the nine H7N8 avian influenza detections announced on January 16. The turkey flocks have been confirmed as low pathogenic avian influenza, with additional testing ongoing for the ninth flock.

    These January 16 detections were identified as part of surveillance testing in the control area surrounding the initial highly pathogenic H7N8 avian influenza (HPAI) case in that state, identified on January 15.

    The pathogenicity of a virus refers to its ability to produce disease. Birds with low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) often show no signs of infection or only have minor symptoms.  HPAI viruses spread quickly and cause high mortality in domestic poultry.  H7 LPAI viruses have been known to mutate into HPAI viruses in the past.

    APHIS continues to work closely with the Indiana State Board of Animal Health and the affected ...

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