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KAINE CELEBRATES FIRST FARM PROTECTED BY STATE FUNDS FOR PURCHASE OF DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS

Governor Timothy M. Kaine recently participated in a ceremony recognizing the first property protected by a local purchase of development rights (PDR) program with funding allocated by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). The property, Clayton Family Farm, is located in Albemarle County near the town of Crozet."Over the past decade, Virginia has lost over…

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STRAIN NAMED LOCAL LEGISLATOR OF THE YEAR

The St. Tammany Chapter of the Alliance for Good Government named Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M. as its 2008 Legislator of the Year."I am humbled by this award," Strain said. "It's gratifying that the Alliance for Good Government took notice of the work I did during my years as a state representative."Strain, of Covington, worked as District 74 state…

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CONGRESS FACES HECTIC JULY AGENDA

      The House and Senate return to work this week after the July 4 recess and lawmakers are facing a heavy schedule on a number of politically hot issues. The next few weeks may be critical to pass any legislation because Congress will adjourn again at the end of this month until after Labor Day in September.        Both chambers are continuing to work on a housing recovery…

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2008 FARM BILL INCLUDES NEW AGRICULTURE TAX PROVISIONS

      The recently enacted 2008 farm bill for the first time includes a number of important tax provisions that have not received much attention. The tax code changes include key incentives for the development of biofuels and tax relief provisions to help farmers and ranchers stay financially sound, as well as promote land conservation and endangered species recovery.       …

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CONSUMER GROUPS CALL FOR EMERGENCY TRACKING FOR PRODUCE

      The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) on July 3 made an urgent plea asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to implement emergency regulations requiring traceability for produce. In a letter to FDA Commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, the groups said such a system would help protect Americans from unsafe…

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FDA ISSUES PROGRESS REPORT ON NEW FOOD SAFETY PLAN

      The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a progress report on July 2 outlining the agency's efforts to improve the safety of the nation's food supply and to implement a new food protection plan. The agency unveiled the comprehensive plan in November 2007 and many of the proposals will require approval by Congress, in addition to numerous agency rulemakings.       …

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FSIS OFFICIAL DR. KAREN HULEBAK ELECTED CHAIR OF CODEX ALIMENTARIUS COMMISSION

      Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer has announced that Dr. Karen Hulebak, a chief scientist for USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), has been elected to serve a two-year term as Chair of the prestigious Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), the international food standards organization. The announcement was made on July 1 in Geneva, Switzerland, during the 31st Session…

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FOOD SECURITY ASSESSMENT 2007 REPORT RELEASED

      According to the USDA's Agriculture and Trade Reports Food Security Assessment, 2007, the number of food insecure people in the 70 lower income countries covered in this report rose between 2006 and 2007, from 849 million to 982 million. Food insecure people are those consuming less than the nutritional target of 2,100 calories per day.        The food security situation…

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USDA RELEASES CRP LAND IN FLOOD REGIONS FOR GRAZING

      Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer has announced the release of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres for livestock grazing in counties recently designated as presidential disaster areas because of flooding. The release permits grazing only in counties designated as primary and contiguous disaster areas and only because of flooding.       "We have a crisis situation in…