News

  • Nathan  Bowen Posted on 09/30/2014 by Nathan Bowen

    As a result of actions taken by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the summer of 2008, tomato growers, packers, and shippers in three states filed suit against the federal government. According to the plaintiffs, growers, packers, and shippers in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, the FDA’s flawed public health warnings resulted in a market collapse for their tomatoes. The plaintiffs sought federal reimbursement caused by damages they experienced after the FDA mistakenly named certain tomatoes as the likely cause of a Salmonella outbreak that later turned out to be caused by Mexican-grown jalapeño and serrano peppers. The plaintiffs alleged over $40 million loss; the greater tomato industry affected by FDA’s pronouncements projects the losses to be in the range of $600 million.

    Last week, Senior Federal Judge Lynn J. Bush, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, granted a government motion to dismiss the case and entered a final judgment in favor of the FDA. The ...

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  • Amanda  Bryant Posted on 09/30/2014 by Amanda Bryant
    South Dakota: Growing in Agriculture - Rail Service Challenges and Opportunities

    Over the past several months, I’ve seen firsthand the leadership and team effort between our congressional and state delegations.

    Since the rail service issues became apparent earlier this year, Gov. Daugaard and your departments of agriculture and transportation have been working with railroad executives, congressional members, and the three-member U.S. Department of Transportation Surface Transportation Board (STB) to address the issues our South Dakota industries continue to face. With rail service under federal jurisdiction, a coordinated effort with the STB and our congressional delegation has been vital in making progress on the issues caused by railcar shortages, shipping delays and rail yard congestion. The summary below reflects the public efforts South Dakota has undertaken to communicate ongoing concerns with leading officials:

    The STB held a public hearing in Washington, D.C. on April 15 to assess the status of rail shipping in the northern plains. I attended this ...

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  • Amanda  Bryant Posted on 09/26/2014 by Amanda Bryant
    NASDA Launches Review of Supplemental Food Safety Rules Released by FDA

    NASDA seeks to ensure that agricultural producers across the nation produce a safe and affordable supply of food, fuel and fiber and have the tools they need to access markets and conserve the environment. FSMA and associated rules promulgated by FDA are an important, even historic, advancement of regulations affecting agriculture. Previously, NASDA commented on the FDA proposed rules regarding Intentional Adulteration, Sanitary Transportation, Preventive Controls for Animal Foods, Foreign Supplier Verification, Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors, Preventive Controls for Human Foods, and Produce Safety. NASDA has now initiated a careful and comprehensive examination of supplemental FSMA proposals released by FDA last week. NASDA called on the FDA to release a second draft of the proposed rules in September of last year.

    NASDA welcomes the chance for an additional comment period and are actively engaged in a technical review to provide detailed comments within the 75-day ...

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  • Nathan  Bowen Posted on 09/23/2014 by Nathan Bowen

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided against appealing a court decision that ruled EPA could not require West Virginia poultry farmer, Louis Alt, to seek a Clean Water Act discharge permit for storm water runoff. EPA asked the court to dismiss the case.

    In 2011, the EPA performed a review of Alt’s poultry concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) and determined that manure and other pollutants were draining into the Potomac River when it rained. EPA said Alt’s operation needed to be permitted under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The American Farm Bureau Federation intervened and challenged the EPA’s position that an agriculture exemption in the Clean Water Act does not apply to CAFOs. The district court determined that the runoff in question was agricultural stormwater and exempt from the CWA permitting requirements.

    EPA said it believes that “the district court decision is wrong” and that “it is time to stop spending resources on ...

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  • Amanda  Bryant Posted on 09/23/2014 by Amanda Bryant
    Texas: Ag Commissioner Todd Staples Steps Aside After 20 Years of Service to State

    Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples announced he will be stepping aside after a lengthy tenure serving the State of Texas as an elected official. Commissioner Staples released the following statement about his decision:

    “Serving the people of Texas in elected office for more than twenty years has been an indescribable honor. From working at the local level as a city council member in my hometown of Palestine to serving in both the House and Senate of the Texas Legislature to now serving statewide as the elected Agriculture Commissioner, one element has been consistently clear to me: God has blessed Texas beyond description.

    “Texas has led the nation in many categories and experienced phenomenal growth over the past few years because the same strength and resolve that were present at the Alamo in 1836 are alive and well today. Fostering the principles of liberty and independence, as well as continuing to cultivate an atmosphere of growth and opportunity for all ...

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    Resource Added: 09/23/2014

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  • Amanda  Bryant Posted on 09/23/2014 by Amanda Bryant
    State Ag Communicators to host National Conference in Teton Village

    Agriculture communicators from around the country will travel to the Equality State for this year’s annual Communications Officers of State Departments of Agriculture (COSDA) conference on October 12-15. The agriculture community has a positive story to share with consumers across the globe and COSDA Members are dedicated to sharing that message and work every day to educate the public on the importance of food and agriculture.

    Timely, accurate and effective professional development and networking opportunities are key components of the COSDA Annual Meeting and this year’s conference in Wyoming is no different. While in Wyoming at the base of the Teton Mountains, conference attendees will learn more about GMO’s, effective messaging, the use of social media on a budget, and how to bounce back from a crisis situation. Along with this, they will have the chance to use the conference to learn about what other states are doing from a communications standpoint and build ...

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  • Nathan  Bowen Posted on 09/23/2014 by Nathan Bowen

    Earlier this week Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Risk Management Agency (RMA), and Farm Service Agency (FSA) released materials designed to provide producers with additional information and clarification related to new conservation compliance provisions for crop insurance participants. The resources, available on the NRCS website, include fact sheets, webinar Q&As, and more. An interactive tool and flow chart of the process is also available to help participants determine if they are in compliance or not. New conservation compliance requirements were included in the 2014 Agricultural Act for crop insurance participants.

    Written by Emily Ruby

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 09/23/2014 by Dudley W Hoskins

    Last week, USDA completed its environmental analysis and issued a Record of Decision (ROD) to deregulate genetically engineered (GE) corn and soybean plants resistant to several herbicides, including 2,4-D. Dow AgroSciences developed these new GE plants as part of its Enlist Duo system, which now goes to EPA for approval for use in the market place. EPA is nearing completion of its concurrent review of the new use of Enlist herbicide on these GE plants, and EPA is expected to make a final regulatory decision in the coming weeks.

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 09/23/2014 by Dudley W Hoskins

    Sens. Thune (SD) and Rockefeller (WV) moved the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2014 (S. 2777) out of the Senate Commerce Committee with unanimous approval. The bill would expand the Surface Transportation Board’s autonomy and ability in overseeing freight lines, specifically in addressing the current shortage of rail cars and delivery delays. The bill is not expected to be enacted this year.

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  • Elizabeth  Rowland Posted on 09/23/2014 by Elizabeth Rowland
    NASDA Seeking Applications for Ag Policy Internship Program

    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 per semester and we most urgently need applications for the upcoming spring semester (January - May). The deadline to apply for this semester is October 31. This full-time position is located in Arlington, Virginia. To view a sharable brochure, click here.

    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 ...
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  • Amanda  Bryant Posted on 09/23/2014 by Amanda Bryant
    NASDA Welcomes Fall Ag Policy Interns

    Caption: Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Buddy Hance, Rebecca Creighton (UMD), Emily Ruby (TAMU), and Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Todd Staples

    NASDA is happy to welcome two agricultural policy interns, Emily Ruby and Rebecca Creighton, to the team for the fall semester.

    Emily Ruby of Houston, Texas is graduating from Texas A&M University in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in agribusiness, and a minor in economics. She is a part of the Texas A&M University Agricultural & Natural Resource Policy (ANRP) internship program. During her time at Texas A&M she has been an active member of the Agricultural Economics Society, A&M Christian Fellowship, and a volunteer for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Emily has lived in Texas for her entire life, so she is really enjoying getting to live and work so close to the nation’s capital. She looks forward to expanding her knowledge of agriculture policy through her internship with NASDA.

    Rebecca and Emily Intern

    Rebecca ...

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    Resource Added: 09/23/2014

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  • Amanda  Bryant Posted on 09/17/2014 by Amanda Bryant
    NASDA President Chuck Ross Hosts Successful Annual Meeting

    Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross hosted members of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) for their annual meeting last week in Burlington, Vermont. Representatives from 48 states, as well as various federal and industry stakeholders from around the country, gathered to discuss a host of agricultural issues centered around the theme of the event: agriculture literacy.

    The NASDA membership voted unanimously on an action item introduced by North Dakota Commissioner of Agriculture Doug Goehring to urge the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to withdraw the proposed Waters of the U.S. rule under the Clean Water Act. NASDA members also updated and streamlined their policy guidelines on domestic marketing. To review the full text of the policy amendments and action items passed during the meeting, as well as presentations given, please click here.

    Distinguished guests of the meeting include the ...

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  • Amanda  Bryant Posted on 09/17/2014 by Amanda Bryant
    NASDA Intern Honored for Lifesaving Efforts

    Dennis Kelly, Syngenta's Team Lead for State Affairs, honored Rebecca Creighton, NASDA's Agriculture Policy Intern from the University of Maryland, at the Annual Meeting for her lifesaving efforts during the collapse of NASDA staff member Bob Ehart last month. Rebecca lead the NASDA team in providing CPR to Bob prior to the arrival of emergency medical services. Thank you, Rebecca, for saving Bob's life!

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 09/17/2014 by Dudley W Hoskins

    USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is inviting stakeholders to submit suggestions for fiscal year (FY) 2015 projects to implement Section 10007 Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Programs (PPDMDPP) of the 2014 Farm Bill. APHIS will accept suggestions for FY 2015 projects from September 15, 2014, through October 24, 2014. Detailed submission instructions and an explanation of the evaluation process are available on the APHIS Farm Bill Section 10007 website.

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 09/17/2014 by Dudley W Hoskins

    According to the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV), the most recent National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) report found 53 positive Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) accessions out of 672 tested at eight veterinary diagnostic labs for the week ending September 6. This brings the total number of positive PEDv pig farm samples to 8,316 in 31 states. Since testing was fully reported last November, twenty-three percent of the 31,472 farm samples have tested positive for the virus. NASDA continues to work with USDA and industry stakeholders to mitigate the spread and economic impact of the disease.

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  • Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 09/17/2014 by Dudley W Hoskins

    The Food & Water Watch filed suit in federal court in an effort to prevent the implementation of the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS) rules. The suit alleges USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) new rule violates the Agency’s responsibilities under the Poultry Products Inspection Act of 1957. The new rule would allow poultry processing plants to increase their line speeds up to 140 birds per minute and permit poultry processing facility staff to assume floor inspections, which would enable FSIS inspectors to focus more time and resources on off-line inspection areas, such as microbial testing.

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  • Nathan  Bowen Posted on 09/17/2014 by Nathan Bowen

    The House of Representatives is slated to vote on a Continuing Resolution in the coming days that would fund the government through December 11. The bill, which had been expected to be on the House floor last week, would funding for the government at the current fiscal year rate of $1.012 trillion. The bill would also include a short-term reauthorization for the Export-Import Bank. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) has indicated that he would like Congress to act on an omnibus funding bill during a lame-duck session following the midterm elections. Such an omnibus from the House could include policy riders such as language preventing EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from finalizing their Waters of the U.S. rulemaking.

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  • Amanda  Bryant Posted on 09/08/2014 by Amanda Bryant
    Ag Literacy Theme of NASDA's Annual Meeting

    The 2014 NASDA Annual Meeting begins tomorrow, September 10, in Burlington, Vermont. The meeting, hosted by NASDA President and Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross, will focus on a theme of agriculture literacy. The opening plenary session, titled "Creating a Culture of Ag Literacy," will feature a panel including Dr. Jean Richardson, Chair of the National Organic Standards Board; Jim Moseley and Gary Hirshberg, Co-Chairs of AGree; and Charlie Arnot, CEO of The Center for Food Integrity. The Honorable Krysta Harden, Deputy Secretary for the US Department of Agriculture, will also address meeting attendees on Friday morning.

    During the meeting, NASDA members will examine key issues facing American agriculture including the legal challenges of industrial hemp, opportunities for dairy exports, EPA's proposed Waters of the U.S., and emerging technologies in agriculture such as big data and unmanned aircraft systems.

    Complimenting the theme of ag literacy, the tours ...

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  • Amanda  Bryant Posted on 09/08/2014 by Amanda Bryant

    The Food Pools Lodging Section Manager Position vacancy is now open competitive (all qualified job seekers) effective September 3, 2014 through midnight on September 12, 2014.

    For more information, click here.

    [Health Program Manager Senior – 14HEAL000276]
     

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  • Nathan  Bowen Posted on 09/08/2014 by Nathan Bowen

    Today, the House of Representatives is scheduled to consider legislation (HR 5078) that would require EPA and the Corps of Engineers to withdraw the agencies’ Waters of the U.S. proposed rule, as well as the Interpretive Rule for Agricultural Conservation Practices. The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL), would also require the agencies to initiate a robust dialogue with state and local governments on a path forward.

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