Budget Finale, Appropriations Start up as Congress Leaves Town

April 11th, 2014

Congress has just left town to return home for a two-week recess.  The House and Senate will not be back in session until the week of April 28. On its way out the door, the House barely managed to pass its budget resolution for 2015.  The vote was 219-205, with a dozen Republican defectors joining Read the Rest…

Release: Funding Restored For Beginning Farmer Training Programs

April 11th, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Juli Obudzinski, Senior Policy Specialist, 202-547-5754 Funding Restored For Beginning Farmer Training Programs April 11, 2014, Washington, DC – Today USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the availability of $19 million in funding for beginning farmer training grants through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP).  This highly successful initiative, administered Read the Rest…

Bill Introduced to Thwart State Efforts to Require GMO Labeling

April 11th, 2014

The issue of labeling products that contain genetically modified (GMO) material is contentious and has faced strong opposition from many industry groups but has been backed aggressively by consumer advocacy groups.  It is estimated that 80 percent of food in the United States contains at least one genetically engineered ingredient, and polls have indicated that Read the Rest…

Conservation and Consumer Interests Again Excluded from Ag Research Advisory Board

April 9th, 2014

After a lengthy nomination process, USDA announced yesterday the appointment of eight new members to serve on the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) Advisory Board. The NAREEE Advisory Board advises the Secretary of Agriculture, USDA’s research agencies, and land-grant colleges and universities on agricultural research, extension, education, and economics policies and priorities. Read the Rest…

New Local Food Procurement Guide for School Nutrition Programs

April 7th, 2014

Last week, the Farm to School Program of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published Procuring Local Food for Child Nutrition Programs, a guide to help K-12 schools operating one or more Child Nutrition Programs with identifying and procuring locally grown and produced food for use at school cafeterias. Using examples from school districts, State agencies, Read the Rest…

Senators Speak Up for Conservation Funding in 2015

April 7th, 2014

On Friday, April 4, 26 Senators delivered a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittees urging them to oppose cuts to conservation programs in fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations legislation.  Senator Chris Coon (D-DE) led the letter.  Among the many other signers were Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Read the Rest…

More 2015 Funding Hearings – Food Safety, Rural Development, and Marketing Programs

April 4th, 2014

This week, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee held hearings on the Obama Administration’s FY 2015 funding requests for three USDA mission areas – Food Safety, Rural Development, and Marketing and Regulatory Programs, which includes the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA).  The Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee also held Read the Rest…

Secretary Vilsack Reports to House Agriculture Committee on Farm Bill Implementation

April 4th, 2014

At a hearing of the House Agriculture Committee on Thursday, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack addressed questions concerning the department’s implementation of key farm bill provisions and role in supporting rural economies.  That same day, USDA released a Farm Bill Implementation Progress Report outlining the actions that the agency has taken since enactment of the law, and Read the Rest…

Groups Urge Congress to Protect Conservation Funding

April 4th, 2014

On Thursday, April 3, NSAC and 28 other national organizations delivered a letter to members of the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittees urging them to oppose cuts to conservation programs in fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations legislation. The letter was delivered as the Subcommittees are considering the President’s FY 2015 Budget Request, funding requests from Read the Rest…

Big Week for Animal Food Safety

April 4th, 2014

As part of the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released proposed regulations for facilities that process animal food last fall.  The draft regulations propose to establish Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and Hazard Analysis and Risk-based Preventive Controls (HARPC) requirements for animal food facilities.  The public comment Read the Rest…

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