News

  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 04/26/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    Florida: Commissioner Putnam Celebrates Florida Agriculture Literacy Day

    Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam recognized the 13th annual Florida Agriculture Literacy Day today at the meeting of the Governor and Cabinet. Florida Agriculture Literacy Day is sponsored by Florida Agriculture in the Classroom Inc. (FAITC), a nonprofit organization that trains teachers and agriculture industry volunteers to educate students on the importance of agriculture.

    “Florida Ag Literacy Day is a fun and entertaining way to bring agriculture into the classroom,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “It’s important to educate Florida’s next generation on where our food comes from and how important the agriculture industry is to all of us.”

    This year’s Ag Literacy book, Drive Through Florida: Vegetables, is the second book in a new series of non-fiction books and highlights Florida’s robust vegetable industry. The book is geared toward children in kindergarten through fifth grade. Books and ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 04/26/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    Vermont: Preliminary Price Comparison Study Released by VT Agency of Ag Suggests Commonly Purchased Foods can be Affordably Priced at Vermont Farmers’ Markets

    One of the greatest barriers preventing consumers from purchasing local food at farmers’ markets is the perception that farmers’ markets are too expensive. Many consumers report that they avoid purchasing local food at direct marketing outlets, such as farmers’ markets, for fear of high costs.  Last year, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) conducted a pilot research project to address these consumer concerns and determine whether or not local products sold at farmers’ markets are indeed more expensive. The study concluded that farmers’ markets are a good option for consumers whose purchasing decisions are driven by price as well as local and/or organic attributes.

    In August 2015, VAAFM gathered pricing information on over fifty local products found at thirteen farmers’ markets across the state and compared those prices to the price of similar products sold at five different retail establishments in Central Vermont, ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 04/26/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) announces that the prestigious 2016 Borlaug CAST Communication Award goes to Dr. Kevin Folta, Chair of the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). A teacher, mentor, researcher, and organizer, Folta focuses on clear, credible information. He knows how to communicate science to non-scientific audiences--and how to train scientists, farmers, physicians, and students to perform public outreach in scientific or controversial topics.

    As a Department Chair, Folta provides statewide administrative leadership in the University of Florida's teaching, research, and extension fruit and vegetable programs. He coordinates and supports faculty efforts in more than 50 research programs at seven locations, ranging from citrus breeding and biotechnology to organic and sustainable production. His laboratory examines how plants sense light signals and how ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 04/19/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    NASDA's summer regional meetings are quickly approaching. Please pay close attention to hotel reservation deadlines as they align with early registration rates. For more information about NASDA's regional associations, click here.

    SASDA
    June 5 – 8
    Point Clear, AL
    Contact Hassey Brooks for more information.

    NEASDA
    June 12 – 15
    Rockport, ME
    Hotel Reservations by May 13
    Registration Coming Soon
    www.nasda.org/neasda2016.aspx

    MASDA
    June 20 – 24
    Manhattan, KS
    Hotel Reservations by May 20
    Register Online Now
    www.nasda.org/masda2016.aspx

    WASDA
    July 17 – 22
    Lake Tahoe, NV
    Hotel Reservations by June 24
    Register Online Now
    www.nasda.org/wasda2016.aspx
    Important Note: The National Celebrity Golf Tournament will be hosted at our hotel concurrently with the meeting. This highly increases the likelihood of the hotel selling out. You are encouraged to reserve your room well before the June 24 deadline.

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 04/19/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    NASDA Member Spotlight: John McMillan, Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries

    As part of our centennial celebrations, NASDA is starting a new feature in NASDA News to highlight our members. This week's feature is Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture John McMillan. Commissioner McMillan is currently serving on the NASDA Board of Directors as the Southern Regional Representative.

    1. How do you start your day?
      I wake up around 4:30 a.m. and go for a walk through my neighborhood. Afterwards, I eat breakfast and head to the office to check state and national news and plan my day before others arrive.
       
    2. What does being a NASDA member mean to you?
      Membership in NASDA is a valuable tool for our department. We get the benefit of effective representation in Washington and we also receive timely communications concerning federal programs and national public policy activities critical to agriculture stakeholders in Alabama.  NASDA meetings also provide networking opportunities with other state departments of agriculture that would not be possible without ...
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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 04/19/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    From The Hill's Congress Blog by American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall

    As a poultry farmer, I was worried when avian flu began popping up around the country last year.Almost 50 million birds were culled in an effort to limit the outbreak, even though only slightly more than 200 birds were actually sick.

    Since I also raise cattle on my land, I was concerned in 2014, when a single case of mad cow disease was discovered in Texas. The disease was isolated and eliminated, however, and our food supply was protected.

    That’s what it’s like to be a farmer. Taking care of our animals is our top priority, but we have every-day worries that go beyond providing our animals access to feed, water and shelter. While we do our best to prepare for what we can control, we also want to be ready for the uncertainties that are thrown our way.

    Whether our challenge of the day stems from a new government edict that affects how we farm, another nation’s decision to ban our ...

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 04/19/2016 by Dudley W Hoskins

    Please save the date for the upcoming Animal Agriculture Alliance (AAA) Annual Stakeholders Summit, taking place on May 5 & 6 at the Westin Arlington Gateway in Arlington, VA. The 2016 event, themed “Securing Animal Agriculture’s Future: Action, Please!” is shaping up to be the best Summit yet. This year’s speakers will focus on actionable takeaways and solutions for securing a bright future for animal agriculture.  Please view the speaker line up and register today! Online registration is available through May 2 and registration is also available on site.  For additional information, please contact the Animal Agriculture Alliance.

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 04/19/2016 by Dudley W Hoskins

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a thirty day extension to the public comment period soliciting input on its draft environmental assessment (EA) submitted by Oxitec Ltd. and a preliminary finding of no significant impact (FONSI) in support of the conduct of an investigational release of genetically engineered (GE) mosquitoes under an investigational new animal drug exemption.  The federal register notice can be found here, and the comment period is extended to May 13th. NASDA will provide comments on this issue later in the week.

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 04/19/2016 by Dudley W Hoskins

    USDA’s National Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA) announced three upcoming applicant informational webinars for the Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP).

    Eligible entities interested in the education objective of the program should join the May 10, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT webinar. Eligible entities interested in the rural practice enhancement objective of the program should join either the May 11 or May 15 webinar, scheduled from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.   Webinars will be recorded and posted here after the events The purpose of the VSGP is to relieve veterinarian shortage situations and support veterinary services.  Grants will be made available on a competitive basis to qualified entities to develop, implement, and sustain veterinary services through education, training, recruitment, placement, and retention of veterinarians and veterinary students. Grants will also be made to establish or expand veterinary practices.

    Webinar Link: ...

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 04/19/2016 by Dudley W Hoskins

    The USDA Secretary's Advisory Committee on Animal Health (SACAH) announced two upcoming meetings on May 2, 2016 and June 16, 2016.  The final agenda will be posted on the SACAH website in the coming weeks, and the meetings will be conducted as multisite teleconferences. Opportunities for public attendance are described in the Supplementary Information section of the public announcement.

    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.

    Questions may be directed to Mrs. R.J. Cabrera, who is the Designated Federal ...

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 04/19/2016 by Dudley W Hoskins

    Mexico announced it would lift the ban, implemented last year during the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza incidents, placed on U.S. poultry imports from fourteen different states, but Mexico will retain restrictions on poultry from Indiana.

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 04/12/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    Vermont is in the farm to school spotlight once again this month as recently released Farm to School Census data ranks Vermont 2nd in the nation in farm to school engagement. With 78% of Vermont districts reporting, Vermont schools spent more than $1.5 million in local food in the 2013-2014 school year.  The top three districts, Washington Central SU, Burlington School District, and Milton Town School District, spent a combined $168,000 on local food purchases, excluding fluid milk.

    This continued national leadership can be attributed to the Rozo McLaughlin Farm to School Act of 2006, which established the Vermont Farm to School Grant Program. The grant program has contributed to the establishment of a strong statewide farm to school network, the development of regional farm to school nonprofits, and a robust inter-agency partnership to support farm to school programs, including of the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, Agency of Education, and Department of Health.

    ...
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  • Charlie Ingram Posted on 04/12/2016 by Charlie Ingram

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the 2015 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey as part of its continued support of local and regional food systems. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is conducting this first-time survey to produce official benchmark data on the local food sector in the United States.

    There has been growing interest and demand for local and regional food systems. Local foods are linked to many USDA priorities – including enhancing the rural economy, the environment, food access and nutrition, and strengthening agricultural producers and markets. The information NASS collects in this new survey is vital to providing data to show where the sector is today and help identify future needs.

    The Local Food Marketing Practices Survey will ask producers for information on their production and local marketing of foods during the 2015 calendar year. Information includes the value of food sales by marketing channel (i.e. ...

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  • Britt  Aasmundstad Posted on 04/12/2016 by Britt Aasmundstad

    The appropriations process is back in full swing on Capitol Hill tomorrow. On the House side, markups are scheduled for Veterans Affairs, Energy and Water and Agriculture. The Agriculture Appropriations markup is scheduled for 4 PM ET and can be viewed online here. Energy and Water is also up on the Senate side. In March, a budget resolution adopting spending levels of $1.07 billion was approved in the House Budget committee, it is currently stalled. NASDA's appropriations priorities can be found online here.

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  • Britt  Aasmundstad Posted on 04/12/2016 by Britt Aasmundstad

    USDA NRCS is hosting two webinars in the coming weeks to discuss changes to the FY2017 Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) application process. This webinar is an excellent resource for those who have questions about the RCPP application documents, financial information, and partnership requirement. The webinars are on April 14th at 2pm ESST and April 27th at 2pm EST. More information is available here.  

    NRCS funded 84 high-impact projects this year for fiscal 2016 funding. The projects cover all 50 states and target all eight Critical Conservation Areas. In total, NRCS received 265 pre-proposals from partners, and of those, selected the best to submit full proposals.

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 04/12/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) Specialty Crops Program (SCP) invites you to a free live, interactive webinar on Thursday, April 21 at 2:00 PM ET on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recently finalized “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption” regulation under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  The webinar will be led by Leanne Skelton, Biological Science Specialist with the AMS SCP and the USDA’s FDA Liaison, and Dr. Samir Assar, Director of FDA’s Division of Produce Safety.

    Leanne & Samir will present highlights from the regulation.  In addition to the Produce Safety regulation, FDA is putting significant effort into strategies for implementation and compliance, training, outreach and education, and research.  USDA is also leading a joint project with FDA to review its USDA GAPs program to ensure it aligns with the FDA Produce Safety regulation.

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 04/12/2016 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    State Ag Commissioners Link Veterans to Local Farmers Markets Improving Health and Farm Economies

    By Gus Schumacher

    Christine Going understands the importance of healthy diets with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Going, the Chief  Nutritionist at New York’s Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center, works with Veterans to improve their diets – and their health. She sees first-hand the benefits of  New York State’s “Fresh Connect” program that provides Veterans with vouchers to spend on healthful produce at farmers markets.

    Nutrition leaders at the Veteran Administration, such as Going and her colleague Barbara Hartman at the Martinsburg West Virginia Medical Center, are playing  a critical role in improving the health of America’s Veterans and providing new markets—and revenues--for farmers. Today more than one million Veterans suffer from chronic illnesses that are diet related,  like diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity. And many of these men and women receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ...

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