News

  • Amanda  Bryant Posted on 07/22/2014 by Amanda Bryant
    NASDA Annual Meeting Registration Now Available

    NASDA President and Vermont Secretary of Agriculture, Chuck Ross, invite you to take part in four valuable days of discussion on key national policy issues, networking with agricultural stakeholders, and exploration of Vermont’s diverse, community-based agriculture. We are happy to announce the availability of online registration for the 2014 NASDA Annual Meeting in Burlington, Vermont. The room block for this event closes exactly one month from today and is filling up quick! If you have not already made your hotel reservations please be sure to do so as soon as possible. For more information, and to book your room online, click here.

    Vermont is a national leader in the localvore movement, ranking first in direct-to-consumer farm sales through farmers’ markets, farm stands and CSA’s. Vermont is also home to a robust dairy industry, and is the country’s top producer of maple syrup. Participants in the 2014 NASDA conference will enjoy touring these facets of ...

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 07/22/2014 by Dudley W Hoskins
    NASDA Meets with USDA's New and Beginning Farmer and Rancher Staff

    Dudley Hoskins and Amanda Bryant met with Lilia McFarland, the Program Coordinator for USDA’s New and Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program last week to discuss some of the new program developments and explore opportunities for enhanced collaboration and partnership in educating beginning farmers and ranchers on the program’s benefits.

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 07/22/2014 by Dudley W Hoskins

    In response to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) customer protection rules, Sens. Roberts (R-KA) and Heitkamp (D-ND) introduced the Risk Hedging Protection Act (S. 2601) to provide futures customers (farmers, ranchers, and grain merchants) an additional day to meet margin calls. The bill is similar to the House-passed H.R. 4413, which was introduced by Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK).

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  • Amanda  Bryant Posted on 07/15/2014 by Amanda Bryant

    The National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board (NAREEE) is currently soliciting for eight positions that will represent the following positions:

    Category B. Farm Cooperatives
    Category D. Plant Commodity Producer
    Category E. National Aquaculture Association
    Category H. National Food Science Organization
    Category J. National Nutritional Science Society
    Category K. 1862 Land-Grant Colleges and Universities
    Category M. 1994 Equity in Education Land-Grant Institutions
    Category Y. National Social Science Association

    The NAREEE Advisory Board provides advice to the Secretary of Agriculture and land-grant colleges and universities on top priorities and policies for food and agricultural research, education, extension and economics. The NAREEEAB's main objective is to contribute to effective federal agricultural research, education and economics programs through broad stakeholder feedback and sound science in its ongoing role as advisor ...

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 07/15/2014 by Dudley W Hoskins

    Last week, USDA released a 12-week progress report on disaster assistance programs, which showed USDA has processed 106,000 payments to farmers and ranchers who suffered livestock and grazing losses between October 2011 and the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill. In February, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced enrollment for four disaster assistance programs would begin April 15, 2014, and USDA estimated roughly $2.5 billion would be provided in disaster relief to cover losses from October 2011 through September 2014. USDA also include reminders for specific program deadlines for the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (August 1, 2014), the Livestock Forage Disaster Program & Livestock Indemnity Program (January 30, 2015), and the Tree Assistance Program (February 2, 2015).

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 07/15/2014 by Dudley W Hoskins

    The Department of Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) stated in a memo on July 9th the FWS will phase out neonicotinoid insecticides in its Pacific Region for all national wildlife refuges in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii. This phase out process is effective immediately with a final phase out goal by January 2016.

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 07/15/2014 by Dudley W Hoskins

    USDA filed an interim rule, which will permit the department to move forward with changes to crop insurance provisions, allow producers to have enterprise units for irrigated and non-irrigated crops, give farmers and ranchers the ability to purchase different levels of coverage for a variety of irrigation practices, provide guidance on conservation compliance, implement protections for native sod and provide adjustments to historical yields following significant disasters. Written comments must be submitted in the docket by Sept. 2. View the interim rule or submit comments.

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  • Amanda  Bryant Posted on 07/15/2014 by Amanda Bryant

    Last week, BNSF Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) publicly filed their second weekly status updates on the backlog in grain shipments. BNSF reported 7,388 cars past due, which is down from 8,462 from the week prior, and CP reported a total of 24,786 open requests in North Dakota (with a 9.68 week average age of the request) and 8,186 open requests in Minnesota (with a 9.83 week average age of the request).

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  • Nathan  Bowen Posted on 07/15/2014 by Nathan Bowen

    The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is slated to mark up bipartisan legislation (HR 5078) Wednesday that would block EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from finalizing their Waters of the US (WOTUS) rule and require the withdrawal of the agencies’ Interpretive Rule for agricultural conservation practices. The legislation, which was introduced by Reps. Southerland (R-FL), Shuster (R-PA), and Rahall (D-WV) along with 11 other Republicans and Democrats, would also require the agencies to initiate a consultation process with state and local governments and their national associations to determine which waters should be federally regulated and which waters should be left to the states to regulate. Also this week, House appropriators will mark up their Interior and Environment bill, which would also include a prohibition on EPA from moving forward on their WOTUS rule.

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  • DeWitt  Ashby Posted on 07/15/2014 by DeWitt Ashby

    The most recent National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show sold the most exhibit space, featured the most exhibitors, and drew the most attendees since 2008, the last show before the onset of the recession. The show features NASDA’s American Food Fair (AFF) Pavilion produced using USDA Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) funds. This year’s AFF featured state pavilions from Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Kansas. Most noteworthy for FAS and NASDA was the number of international attendees, 5,148 – a 9.3 % increase over 2013. Attendance from China, a market of special emphasis for NASDA, was up 32% to 290.

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  • Nathan  Bowen Posted on 07/08/2014 by Nathan Bowen

    In a letter sent last week to Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi last week, the Western Governors’ Association said it was encouraged by recent House activities on reforms to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The WGA letter, which was signed by WGA Chairman John Hickenlooper (D-CO) and WGA Vice Chairman Brian Sandoval (R-NV), called for a partnership with federal regulators in order to increase state involvement in listing decisions. Additionally, the letter calls for the inclusion of sound science as well as public access to relevant data.

    Written by Christian Lovell

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  • Nathan  Bowen Posted on 07/08/2014 by Nathan Bowen

    Yesterday, NASDA formally submitted comments to EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, expressing concerns with the agencies’ Interpretive Rule for Agricultural Conservation Practices. The Interpretive Rule, which was published along with the agencies’ Waters of the U.S. rulemaking, attempted to clarify the relationship between conservation activities and the Clean Water Act’s (CWA) “normal farming” exemption from Section 404 permitting requirements.

    NASDA expressed concerns that the Interpretive Rule would narrow the CWA’s “normal farming” exemptions and could dissuade producers from implementing conservation activities on their land. NASDA also expressed concerns that the Interpretive Rule was developed without the input of state regulators or the regulated community, which has resulted in significant confusion among producers, state regulators, and federal agency field staff. NASDA emphasized that there was confusion about which ...

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 07/08/2014 by Dudley W Hoskins

    BNSF Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway reported to the Surface Transportation Board they might have a backlog of up to 20,000 railcars in the Midwest due to the significant spring flooding. Several grain shippers have noted this backlog could impact corn and soybean harvests as well.

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  • Bob  Ehart Posted on 07/08/2014 by Bob Ehart

    Last week, USDA announced $5 million in support of 19 projects under the National Clean Plant Network (NCPN) funded under the Agriculture Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill). NCPN-funded facilities provide high-quality propagative plant material that is free of plant pathogens and pests that can otherwise cause economic losses to the American specialty crop industry. The NCPN’s Governing Board recommended funding 19 of the 22 NCPN proposals in 14 states. NCPN facilities receiving funding this year include $1.58 million for grapes, $1.28 million for citrus, $1 million for fruit and nut trees, $455,000 for berries, and $203,000, for hops. Additionally, APHIS is providing funding for exploratory planning to consider adding roses ($28,750) and sweet potatoes ($19,000) to the Network. Funds will support facilities in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington. Additional ...

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  • Amanda  Bryant Posted on 07/08/2014 by Amanda Bryant
    North Carolina: State Veterinarian Position Open for Applications

    The N.C. Commissioner of Agriculture is seeking applications and nominations for the position of State Veterinarian, a full time position headquartered in Raleigh, N.C. and serving as the Director of the approximately 140 employee Veterinary Division. The division currently encompasses the livestock and poultry Animal Health Programs sections, the four facility AAVLD accredited NAHLN diagnostic laboratory system, and the companion Animal Welfare section. For more information on how to apply, click here.

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  • Amanda  Bryant Posted on 07/08/2014 by Amanda Bryant
    New Mexico: 4th of July Op-Ed by Secretary Jeff Witte

    “It will not be doubted that with reference either to individual or national welfare, agriculture is of primary importance.” – President George Washington

    The Fourth of July, a day to celebrate the birth of our nation. A day of reflection upon our independence and national pride.

    Agriculture has played and continues to play a vital role in what makes the United States of America the greatest country in the world. When one thinks of independence, there is no greater group that continues to provide the sustenance of nutrition to our people than American farmers and ranchers. Societies that can feed themselves are societies that can thrive.

    New Mexico agriculture producers are part of a select group of individuals across our great nation who provide the wide variety of food that we will enjoy on our July Fourth celebration. They do that today under the considerable stress of drought, the high cost of inputs like livestock feed and fertilizer, competitive ...

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  • Megan  McDonald Posted on 07/08/2014 by Megan McDonald

    Once again, NASDA is putting in a call for nominees for its annual Honor Awards. Since 1972, NASDA has conducted its annual honor awards program for employees of the state departments of agriculture. It has become an important part of our annual meeting program and gives recognition to outstanding professionals who work for NASDA members. The award recipients are selected by an independent panel of judges, familiar with the work of state agriculture agencies, but not employed by NASDA or any member states. Actual presentation of the awards occurs as a highlight of our upcoming Annual Meeting in Burlington, Vermont on September 13, 2014 at the President’s Banquet.

    NASDA will make one award presentation in each of the following categories:

    • Douglass-Irvin Administration Award — Individuals in purely administrative positions. The award for administration is for outstanding work within a state agency to improve operations and efficiency.
    • Communications — ...
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  • Amanda  Bryant Posted on 07/01/2014 by Amanda Bryant

    Effective immediately, the U.S. and Korea have reached an agreement on organic equivalency for processed products produced in both countries to be labeled organic in either country. Prior to this equivalency agreement, producers had to maintain costly and time consuming organic labeling certifications in both countries.

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack praised the agreement.

    “This is another chapter in the success story of organic agriculture, which provides more economic opportunities for American producers, more choices for consumers, and more jobs in rural communities across the country.”

    According to the Organic Trade Association, the Korean appetite for organic foods increased by an average rate of 50 percent from 2006 to 2011. The Korean demand for organic products from the U.S. is expected to double over the next five years.

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 07/01/2014 by Dudley W Hoskins

    Yesterday, USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) filed an interim rule in the Federal Register to amend certain provisions under the Federal Crop Insurance Act, the Catastrophic Risk Protection Endorsement, the Area Risk Protection Insurance Regulations, and the Common Crop Insurance Regulations as mandated by the 2014 Farm Bill (Agricultural Act of 2014). The revisions are intended to provide better options for beginning farmers, allow producers to have enterprise units for irrigated and non-irrigated crops, give farmers and ranchers the ability to purchase different levels of coverage for a variety of irrigation practices, provide guidance on conservation compliance, implement protections for native sod and provide adjustments to historical yields following significant disasters. The interim rule is effective as of June 30, 2014, and USDA is accepting comments on the revisions through September 2, 2014.

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 07/01/2014 by Dudley W Hoskins

    USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) extended the comment period on the proposed changes to adjust the Agriculture Quarantine Inspection (AQI) program user fees. The AQI is jointly administered by APHIS and the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to keep foreign agricultural pests that could affect U.S. agriculture, trade and commerce out of the United States. APHIS is extending the comment period for an additional 30 days, through July 24, 2014.

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