Public Meetings, Congressional Hearings, Calls for Comments

 

FOOD & AGRICULTURE

  • The Republican-controlled House on Tuesday approved a bill to block the Obama administration from implementing a rule that asserts regulatory authority over many of the nation's streams and wetlands - an action that critics call a classic Washington overreach. Read more 
  • Chairman Frank Lucas praises House passage of bill to block EPA's latest attack on American Agriculture. Read more
  • View Politico's article about the real currency on Capitol Hill, home-state snacks, "Psst, wanna trade for a Pop-Tart?" 
  • Senate Commerce Committee Chair Jay Rockefeller, D-W. VA., and Ranking Member John Thune, R-S.D., introduced legislation Monday afternoon to increase the efficiency of the Surface Transportation Board. Read more
  • Rep. Glenn 'GT' Thompson, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry, held a public hearing to review the U.S. Forest Service's proposed groundwater directive. Read more
  • The USDA has agreed to buy up to $13 million in canned pink salmon to ease a glut that has weighed down prices for Alaska fishermen. Read more
  • President Obama will postpone action on his promise to remake federal immigration policies through executive authority until after the midterm elections in November, the White House announced Saturday, acquiescing to Democrats' fears that such a move would damage their prospects for maintaining control of the U.S. Senate. Read more
  • USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service is making decisions and claiming jurisdiction over farmlands, once wetlands, that have been tiled.  NRCS takes an expansive view of what is a "farmed wetland." Read more 
  • Kids love pizza, bologna, cheese and chicken nuggets. U.S. public health officials don't like the salt in those foods and say a diet dominated by them may harm children's future health. Read more
  • Annie's may be natural and organic - but it won't be independent much longer. The specialty food maker announced an agreement to be sold to giant General Mills $820 million. Read more 
  • Bayer CropScience is celebrating the grand opening of
    its newest research facility, a $17 million, 76,000 square-foot greenhouse at its facility in Memphis, Tennessee. Read more
  • The Coca-Cola Co. last month donated to the University of Florida a second gift of $1.5 million to support the long-term research aimed at stopping citrus greening, the widespread disease that affects crops in Florida's $9 billion citrus industry. Read more 
  • Retail giant Wal-Mart joined a group of volunteers counting corn ears and soybean pods in fields in the United States recently in a clear sign traditional crop tours are expanding their appeal from farmers and traders to all those with a stake in the U.S. food chain. Read more 
  • While estimates are quite preliminary, Napa's famed wine industry likely suffered between $70 million and $100 million in damage from the Aug. 24 temblor, according to a report commissioned by the County of Napa and Napa County Vintners Association, a non-profit trade association. Read more
  • Monsanto has agreed to settle some of the lawsuits brought by U.S. farmers who allege they lost money when an Oregon field was discovered to have been contaminated with an experimental genetically modified strain of wheat. Read more
  • California is forecast to produce a record walnut crop this year despite the state's severe drought, and one analyst says some alarming water use practices have contributed to the robust yields. Read more
  • The Council for Responsible Nutrition asked that the Nutrition Guidance and Analysis Division of the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion include in its 2015 dietary guidelines a recommendation that consumers supplement their healthy diet with a multivitamin. Read more
  • FTC Settlement With Green Coffee Extract Maker Includes $3.5-Million Fine. Read more
  • Corn and soybeans fell to four-year lows after the U.S. forecast record harvests and expanding global inventories that will help limit gains in food inflation. Read more
  • New York City-based National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released FSIS inspection reports on Foster Farms. Read more
  • Panda Express rolled out mobile ordering Thursday at all of its more than 1,500 restaurants nationwide, joining the growing ranks of restaurant chains offering mobile and online ordering. Read more
  • Restaurant companies will be among the first merchants to integrate Apple Pay, a phone-payment platform that Apple Inc. unveiled Tuesday. Read more
  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the re-appointment of eight members and the appointment of three new members to the Council for Native American Farming and Ranching. Read more
  • Tom Vilsack announced that $328 million in conservation funding is being invested to help landowners protect and restore key farmlands, grasslands and wetlands across the nation. The USDA initiative will benefit wildlife and promote outdoor recreation and related sectors of the economy. Read more
  • Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is investing more than $518 million in rural electric cooperatives to improve the delivery of electric power to communities in 15 states. This funding is part of nearly $50 billion that USDA has invested in infrastructure improvements since 2009. Read more
  • Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden  announced that USDA is investing in rural businesses and development organizations to spur economic growth in rural areas and in Tribal communities. Read more

TRADE & INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURE NEWS

  • Global food prices fell to their lowest level in four years as all major food sectors declined during August with the exception of meat, the United Nations said on Thursday. Read more 
  • One of Taiwan's oldest food companies announced a recall last week of 12 products after finding out they may have been made with oil recycled from kitchen and industrial waste. Read more
  • Japan and the United States might arrange for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to visit Washington in January for talks with President Barack Obama on trade and security issues, a U.S. government source said Saturday. Read more
  • China's import growth unexpectedly fell for the second consecutive month in August, posting its worst performance in over a year and stoking speculation about whether authorities should loosen policy further to revive domestic demand. Read more
  • Australia lowered its outlook for wheat production as dry weather in parts of the country's east may curb yields in the world's fifth-biggest exporter. Read more
  • As China's economy slows and the days of double-digit economic growth are over, companies that have been selling minerals to the Chinese are looking for the next big thing. For many Australian miners, the answer is cattle. Read more
  • At least 1,444 cases of Hepatitis A were reported in 12 European countries in connection with a variety of mixed berry products last year, according to the final outbreak report by the European Food Safety Authority. Read more
  • The Danish State Serum Institute (SSI) reportedly confirmed on Monday that 15 people have now died from the ongoing Listeria monocytogenes outbreak, with the total number of those sickened at 38. Read more
  • Syria has canceled a deal to sell 200,000 tonnes of wheat from its 2013 local crop to Iraqi private traders as conflict raging in both countries has paralyzed transport of the grain, a source at Syria's state grain agency said on Tuesday. Read more
  • Ajinomoto Co. agreed to buy closely held Windsor Quality Holdings LP for about $800 million in its biggest purchase as the Japanese maker of seasonings and processed foods pursues growth in the U.S. frozen foods market. Read more
  • A group of U.S. senators wants Burger King Worldwide to scrap its plans to invert, or move its tax domicile to Canada, as part of a deal to buy coffee and donut chain Tim Hortons Inc. Read more
  • The day may not be too far off when consumers and food manufacturers will be able to detect the presence of E. coli, Listeria or Salmonella by visual changes in a polymer-based "smart label" now being developed by engineering professors at the University of Alberta. Read more
  • India spent $56.1 billion on support for farmers in 2010-2011, it said in a World Trade Organization filing on Wednesday, a document that will be pored over for evidence that it breached agreed limits on agricultural subsidies. Read more
  • The nascent U.S. cellulosic ethanol industry has urged the White House to change course on targets for biofuel use, warning in a letter to President Barack Obama on Tuesday that current policy risks losing investments to China and Brazil. Read more
  • Auriga Industries of Denmark said on Monday that it had agreed to sell its insecticide maker, Cheminova, to the FMC Corporation for about $1.4 billion in cash, plus the assumption of debt. Read more
  • Dunkin' Donuts, part of the Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc., said Friday that it is on track to meet its previously announced development target of 500 Dunkin' Donuts restaurants in India over the long-term. Read more

USDA REPORTS

WHITE HOUSE

CONGRESS 

  • Lawmakers returned this week for a brief work period, with an agenda that includes a number of messaging bills, a critical measure to fund the government, and potentially a bill to extend the Export-Import Bank before leaving town again for the campaign trail.
  • House Republicans released a draft of a continuing resolution that would fund the government through Dec. 11. It includes money to fight the Ebola outbreak, reauthorizes the controversial Export-Import Bank through the end of June 2015, and extends the moratorium on taxing the Internet.
  • The House delayed consideration of the CR, with Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., citing members' need to weigh a White House request that lawmakers include a use-of-force authorization in the stopgap funding measure.

POLITICS

  • Voters in a handful of states cast ballots Tuesday in the final round of primary elections of the 2014 cycle. Full election results: Delaware | Massachusetts | New Hampshire | New York | Rhode Island
  • Delaware businessman Kevin Wade faces Sen. Chris Coons in the general election following a decisive Republican primary victory over retired engineer Carl Smink.
  • Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley secured a narrower-than-expected Democratic primary victory over Treasurer Steve Grossman and former health administrator Don Berwick, and will face Republican Charlie Baker in November.
  • Marine veteran Seth Moulton defeated Rep. John Tierney in Massachusetts' 6th District Democratic primary, boosting his party's prospects for the fall.
  • Former Sen. Scott Brown, late of Massachusetts, defeated former Sen. Bob Smith and former state Sen. Jim Smith in the New Hampshire GOP Senate primary, setting up a November showdown with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
  • Former Rep. Frank Guinta, R-N.H., won the 1st District GOP primary, setting up a third consecutive general-election fight against Rep. Carol Shea-Porter.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo held off a challenge from law school professor Zephyr Teachout, garnering more than 60 percent of the vote in a three-way primary.
  • Rhode Island Treasurer Gina Raimondo defeated Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and attorney Clay Pell in a Democratic primary that highlighted intraparty divisions, and squares off against Cranston Mayor Allan Fung in the general election.

BUDGET & ECONOMY

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employers added 142,000 positions to nonfarm payrolls in August-well short of a projected gain of 220,000 to 225,000 jobs-and unemployment dipped slightly, to 6.1 percent, from 6.2 percent in July.
  • The Labor Department reported that U.S. employers hired 4.9 million workers in July-the most since 2007-while job openings held steady at a 13-year high of 4.7 million.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

HEALTH CARE

  • Administration officials acknowledged Sept. 4 that hackers infiltrated HealthCare.gov in July, but maintain that  no consumer data was compromised during the attack, which involved the upload of malicious code to a test server.
  • Workers found six more dangerous agents, including ricin, improperly stored in NIH and FDA labs, following the July discovery of smallpox vials in federal facilities.
  • Ebola infections are increasing exponentially in West Africa, with nearly 4,300 cases reported, due in part to a surge of infections in Liberia, where the World Health Organization estimated more than 500 new cases were reported in a week. The death toll in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Senegal is thought to have exceeded 2,200.

MEETINGS

September 11, 2014
FARM CREDIT SYSTEM INSURANCE CORPORATION 
Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation Board; Regular Meeting  
SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given of the regular meeting of the Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation Board (Board). 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-08/html/2014-21317.htm 

October 28-30, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
Notice of Meeting of the National Organic Standards Board
SUMMARY: In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, (5 U.S.C. App.), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing an upcoming meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-08/html/2014-21292.htm 

October 28, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
Codex Alimentarius Commission: Meeting of the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses 
SUMMARY: The Office of the Under Secretary for Food Safety, USDA, and the FDA, Office of Nutrition, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements are sponsoring a public meeting on October 28, 2014. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-10/html/2014-21551.htm 

FOOD SAFETY

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
Discontinuing Export Certificates for Food Products That Contain Egg Products as an Ingredient   
SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing that it will no longer issue export certificates for FDA-regulated prepared or manufactured food products that contain egg products as an ingredient because the Agricultural Marketing Service has instituted a program to provide this service.  
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-10/html/2014-21554.htm 

November 10, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
Establishing a Performance Standard for Authorizing the Importation and Interstate Movement of Fruits and Vegetables  
SUMMARY: We are proposing to amend our regulations governing the importations of fruits and vegetables by broadening our existing performance standard to provide for approval of all new fruits and vegetables for importation into the United States using a notice-based process. 
Link:  http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-09/html/2014-21406.htm 

MARKETING

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
Results of Soybean Request for Referendum 
SUMMARY: The results of AMS's Request for Referendum indicate that too few soybean producers wanted a referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Order (Order) for one to be conducted. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-10/html/2014-21509.htm 

September 11, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Program: Amendment of Procedures and Notification of Request for Referendum 
SUMMARY: The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is affirming without changes its interim rule (79 FR 12037) to amend the procedures to Request a Referendum at 7 CFR Part 1220 by removing the specific number of soybean producers eligible to request a referendum under the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information program, commonly known as the Soybean Checkoff Program. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-10/html/2014-21512.htm 

October 10, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE 
Process for Establishing Rates Charged for AMS Services SUMMARY: AMS is proposing to amend its regulations to provide for a set of standardized formulas by which fees are calculated. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-10/html/2014-21188.htm 

OTHER ITEMS

COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION Reestablishment of the Agricultural Advisory Committee 
SUMMARY: The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is publishing this notice to announce the reestablishment of the Agricultural Advisory Committee (AAC). 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-09/html/2014-21410.htm 

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE 
Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2013-2014   
SUMMARY: The Department of Commerce is conducting an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on certain frozen warmwater shrimp from the People's Republic of China, covering the period of review  from February 1, 2013, through January 31, 2014. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-12/html/2014-21828.htm 

September 12, 2014
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY Sulfentrazone; Pesticide Tolerances  
SUMMARY: This regulation establishes a tolerance for residues of sulfentrazone in or on apple.  
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-12/html/2014-21807.htm 

October 1, 2014
OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE 
Fiscal Year 2015 WTO Tariff-Rate Quota Allocations for Raw Cane Sugar, Refined and Specialty Sugar, and Sugar-Containing Products  
SUMMARY: The Office of the United States Trade Representative is providing notice of country-by-country allocations of the FY 2015 (Oct. 1, 2014, through Sept. 30, 2015) in-quota quantity of the tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) for imported raw cane sugar, refined sugar (syrups and molasses), specialty sugar, and sugar-containing products.
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-09/html/2014-21321.htm 

November 10, 2014
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY  
Revisions to Ambient Monitoring Quality Assurance and Other Requirements  
SUMMARY: This action proposes revisions to ambient air monitoring requirements for criteria pollutants to provide clarifications to existing requirements to reduce the compliance burden of monitoring agencies operating ambient networks. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-11/html/2014-19758.htm 

Call for Comments

IFT calls for comments on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  For details please refer to http://www.ift.org/public-policy-and-regulations/advocacy/ift-comments/call-for-comments.aspx.