Agri/Washington Public Affairs

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AMS US Consumer Standards Update
The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is seeking public comments on its proposal to terminate the US Consumer Standards for the following foods: Italian Sprouting Broccoli, Fresh Carrots, Celery Stalks, Husked Corn on the Cob, Fresh Kale, Fresh Spinach Leaves, Brussels Sprouts, Fresh Parsnips, Fresh Turnips, and and Beet Greens. This proposed action is part of USDA's work to eliminate regulations that are outdated, unnecessary, ineffective, or impose costs that exceed benefits. Comments will be accepted until December 28, 2020.


USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program
The USDA announced it has authorized $500 million for a fourth round of purchases for the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program. The Department is issuing solicitations for the fourth round to existing Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) holders and expects to award contracts by October 30th for deliveries of food boxes from November 1st through December 31st.

Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Independence Day!

Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Independence Day!


USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program Update
The USDA has approved up to $1.27 billion in extended contracts and up to $202 million in new contracts to support American producers and communities through the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program. In this second round of purchases, the program will purchase $512 million in fresh fruits and vegetables, $288 million in a variety of dairy products, $233 million in meat products and $444 million in a combination box of fresh produce, dairy or meat products through August 31st. As a reminder, this program was established for the Department to purchase and distribute agricultural products to those in need during the pandemic in the form of boxes packaged with fresh foods

Today we honor and remember those we lost serving our country. "We don't know them all, but we owe them all."#MemorialDa...

Today we honor and remember those we lost serving our country. "We don't know them all, but we owe them all."


The FDA and USDA recently issued a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the potential use of the Defense Production Act (DPA) with regard to FDA-regulated food. Of note, the USDA retains its DPA authority for products subject to FDA jurisdiction. However, the MOU establishes that FDA will be responsible for monitoring the continued functioning of the FDA-regulated food production sector, bringing issues to USDA's attention should FDA believe that USDA may need to exercise its DPA authorities to address a situation. To the extent FDA identifies disruptions to the supply or other issues, both Agencies will work together to discuss appropriate action.

#ThankAFarmer #supportfarmers

#ThankAFarmer #supportfarmers

U.S. farmers expected to get third tranche of trade aid despite Phase 1 deal -Perdue
U.S. farmers expected to get third tranche of trade aid despite Phase 1 deal -Perdue

U.S. farmers expected to get third tranche of trade aid despite Phase 1 deal -Perdue

WASHINGTON, Jan 16 (Reuters) - U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said he expected U.S. farmers to receive a third and final tranche of trade-related payments even after a Phase 1 trade deal with China was signed, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. Washington and Beijing signed the pact on Wednesd...

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Santa's reindeer issued a permit from USDA to enter the United States after passing inspection with flying colors!

Season's Greetings from Agri/Washington!

Season's Greetings from Agri/Washington!


FSIS Consumer Food Safety Education and Outreach
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing its intention to conduct focus groups with consumers to provide information to inform consumer education outreach efforts related to disseminating information to consumers about recalls and outbreaks and the labeling of products.


USDA AMS National Organic Standards Board
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will meet from April 29-May 1, 2020 in Crystal City, VA. At the meeting, they will discuss substances petitioned for addition to or deletion from the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List), substances due to sunset from the National List in 2022, and recommendations on organic policies. They invite the public to submit written comments and/or provide oral comments at the Spring 2020 meeting for which the comment period will close on April 3, 2020. The NOSB considers and makes recommendations on a wide range of issues involving the production, handling, and processing of all organic products.


Diary Margin Coverage Program
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) has extended the deadline to December 20, 2019 for producers to enroll in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program for the 2020 calendar year. The program offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.


FDA + USDA Staff Updates
This week, the Senate confirmed Dr. Stephen Hahn to fill the position of FDA Commissioner.

Also this week, President Trump nominated Brandon Lipps to serve as undersecretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services at the USDA, a long-vacant post that oversees a large portion of the Department's budget. This nomination will require a full Senate vote.





10 Things You May Not Know About Farmers
10 Things You May Not Know About Farmers

10 Things You May Not Know About Farmers

Although I grew up in a rural area with farms and ranches surrounding me, I knew nothing about farmers except their names. However, I began writing about farmers and ranchers in Kansas approximately three years ago and I want to share what I have learned.


Fees for Rice Inspection
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is seeking public comments on a proposed rule to reduce the fees for the sampling, inspection, weighing, and certification of rice performed under the authority of the Agricultural Marketing Act. Under the proposal, fees would decrease by 20% for fiscal year (FY) 2020 and by another 20% for FY 2021.


Food & Nutrition

SNAP Technology Flexibilities
The USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) announced a new pair of administrative flexibilities that enable states to leverage modern technologies in their efforts to deliver the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. These guidances offer flexibilities that will allow states to use modern tools and documents to verify applicants' identities and income.


USDA Leadership Update
This week, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue swore in Brandon Lipps as Deputy Under Secretary of the Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services (FNCS) and Pam Miller as the Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) at the USDA.
Dairy group reiterates FDA labeling criticism on World Plant Milk Day - Brownfield Ag News

The celebration of World Plant Milk Day Thursday has a dairy trade group calling again on the FDA to enforce labeling laws and restrict the use of dairy terms. Alan Bjerga with National Milk Producers says, “There’s no such thing as plant milk. Let’s also take a look at this term “world.” ...

Food Science Babe

Food Science Babe

Dear Quaker,

Please #StandUpForScience and use your money to educate consumers about GMOs and promote #FactsNotFear rather than spending it on a meaningless, fear based marketing label that funds an anti-agriculture, anti-GMO activist organization. Just food for thought. Until then, those of us that understand that this is purely an anti-science fear based marketing label will be actively trying to avoid it.

Science advocates and people that actually care about the environment and humanity

Learn more about how to shop based on #factsnotfear:

#appreciation #thankafarmer

#appreciation #thankafarmer


FSIS Response to Petition
The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a final response to a petition submitted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest requesting that FSIS require labels on processed meat products warning consumers that frequent consumption of these products may cause increase the risk of colon cancer. After careful consideration, FSIS has denied the petition and considers these products safe to consume.


Senate Hemp Production Hearing
On July 25th, the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee will hold a hearing on "Hemp Production and the 2018 Farm Bill."


House Appropriations International Food Assistance Hearing
On July 24th, the House Appropriations Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on "International Food Assistance Programs at USDA and USAID."


Protecting America's Food and Agriculture Act Markup
On July 24th, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a markup of S.2107, the "Protecting America's Food and Agriculture Act of 2019."


USDA AMS Grading Standards

The USDA is adopting a final rule to remove seven voluntary US grade standards and one consumer standard for fresh fruits and vegetables. This move affects the following eight standards: US Standards for Grades of Cantaloupes, Celery, Persian (Tahiti) Limes, Peaches, Apricots, Nectarines, Honey Dew and Honey Ball Type Melon as well as US Consumer Standards for Celery Stalks.


USDA Origin of Livestock Rule
At a House Agriculture hearing on Wednesday, USDA Undersecretary Greg Ibach told lawmakers the department will release an origin of organic livestock rule later this year. He did not specify whether it will be a proposed rule or final one


USDA AMS Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee Meeting

The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing a meeting of the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee on August 14-15th in Arlington, VA. The meeting is being convened to examine the full spectrum of fruit and vegetable industry issues and provide recommendations and ideas to the Secretary of Agriculture on how the USDA can tailor programs and services to better meet the needs of the US produce industry.


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