Public Meetings, Congressional Hearings, Calls for Comments

 

FOOD & AGRICULTURE

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration published its revised provisions to four of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) on Friday morning. Read more
  • Chairman Frank Lucas held a public hearing to review the implementation of state pilot projects under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) of the Agricultural Act of 2014. Read more
  • Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and Rep. Doug LaMalfa issued statements after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) voted, 4-0, to exempt producers, utility companies, and other non-financial entities from being required to register as swap dealers when they enter into energy contracts with government-owned utilities. Read more
  • The USDA's statistics service released their final numbers for 2013 last week, mostly confirming-with only a few minor changes-earlier projections for state agriculture statistics released earlier this year. Read more
  • Rep. Glenn 'GT' Thompson, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry, held a public hearing to examine the benefits of promoting soil health in agriculture and rural America. Read more
  • A battle is brewing in the beer industry over a new regulation from the EPA that spells out the agency's authority to regulate bodies of water. Read more
  • DuPont agreed to pay a $1.85 million penalty to resolve complaints the Delaware-based company failed to submit reports to the EPA about a herbicide called Imprelis that resulted in reports of death or damage about 7,000 trees. Read more
  • A top official with USDA's Food Safety and inspection Service (FSIS) told a meat industry conference that ended Sunday in Charleston, SC, to expect new performance standards for Salmonella. Read more
  • View the Washington Post's article, "The decline of the small American family farm in one chart."
  • The Labor Department said on Tuesday falling gasoline and food prices restrained its producer price index for final demand last month. Prices received by the nation's farms, factories and refineries had edged up 0.1 percent in July. Read more
  • USDA lowered their forecast of 2014 pork production a tiny bit and lowered their forecast of annual average hog price by $2.50 to $77-78/cwt of live weight. Read more 
  • Over the next three months, vegetable growers in the United States will be asked about their production practices when they participate in the Vegetable Chemical Use Survey, conducted by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Read more
  • Sushi eaters could face sticker shock the next time they order a California roll or check the box for another round of yellowtail nigiri. Thanks to the historic drought in California, prices may spike for the specialty rice used in the popular Japanese dish. Read more
  • Fast food restaurateurs, hotel operators and other franchise owners from around the country are descending upon Washington on Tuesday to register their opposition to a National Labor Relations Board finding they say threatens to undermine their business model. Read more
  • Burger King reported Monday a same-store sales bump of 3.7 percent in North America and 2.7 percent globally for July and August, compared with the previous year, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Read more 
  • The Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches chain is considering selling a major stake in the company and has hired boutique investment bank North Point Advisors to advise on a potential deal, according to people familiar with the matter. Read more 
  • The Obama administration on Tuesday added more time to the clock for the public to comment on the president's signature climate rule on existing power plants. Read more 
  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the award of $15.7 million in Conservation Innovation Grants to 47 organizations that will help develop and demonstrate cutting-edge ideas to accelerate innovation in private lands conservation. The Secretary made the announcement while visiting a farm in Illinois. Read more 
  • Tom Vilsack announced that USDA has made new financial assistance available to eligible Florida citrus growers for the removal of trees afflicted with Huanglongbing (HLB, also known as citrus greening) and for replanting groves with new healthy stock. The support comes through USDA's Tree Assistance Program. Read more
  • Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is investing in 540 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide. Read more
  • Tom Vilsack, joined U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julian Castro, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan to announce a competition to designate a new round of Promise Zones. Read more

TRADE & INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURE NEWS

  • Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow is developing new legislation to make it harder for Chinese companies to buy up U.S. food companies, confirms a statement issued by her office. Read more
  • The chairman of a Taiwan-based company suspected of buying recycled waste oil and mixing it with lard oil for sale to unsuspecting customers was reportedly detained Saturday on suspicion of fraud. Officials said Yeh Wen-hsiang was a flight risk, plus they said they were concerned he might destroy evidence or collude with other suspects. Read more
  • View the statement by Ambassador Punke at the Informal Heads of Delegation Meeting at the WTO.
  • View the statement by Ambassador Punke at the WTO Trade Policy Review of the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu (Chinese Taipei).
  • The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Chinese National Food Industry Association (CNFIA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to intensify their joint food safety efforts in China and the United States, GMA announced. Read more
  • Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman are due to meet next week in Washington for talks on a bilateral deal that is crucial to clinching a broader multilateral Pacific rim trade pact. Read more
  • Germany has launched what it claims is Europe's first and largest commercial battery plant, which will help to store renewable power sources. Such sources can prove erratic, as they are dependent on the elements, such as wind and the sun. Read more
  • The Canadian government will fine Canadian National Railway Co for failing to meet minimum weekly grain volumes under an official order demanding railways ramp up grain shipments or face penalties, a spokeswoman for Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said on Wednesday. Read more
  • Russia, Canada and China are projected to gain farmland this century as the world warms up due toclimate change, even as global crop-growing capacity may decline, a German study showed. Read more 
  • Top U.S. and Japanese trade officials will meet next week in Washington to tackle outstanding issues in a massive Asia-Pacific trade deal. Read more
  • View the remarks by Ambassador Michael Froman at the Coalition for Green Trade Environmental Goods Agreement Event.
  • View the remarks by Michael Froman on Labor Enforcement Case Against Guatemala.
  • After yesterday's independence vote, Scotland's food safety challenges remain. Foodborne illnesses strike about 132,000 Scots annually, sending 2,330 to hospitals and causing about 50 deaths. Read more
  • Thousands of tourists were stranded in the storm-battered Mexican Pacific resort of Los Cabos on Thursday, with water in short supply and looted stores sitting empty as a new hurricane threatened to buffet the popular tourist hub. Read more

USDA REPORTS

WHITE HOUSE

CONGRESS 

  • The House on Wednesday approved a $1 trillion stopgap-spending bill to keep the government funded through December 11. Read more
  • The Paycheck Fairness Act, which Democrats have promoted as part of their "Fair Shot" agenda, ran aground in the Senate on GOP opposition, failing to secure the required 60 votes to advance.
  • Under suspension of the rules, the House passed the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act, which will enable low-income families to use federal vouchers at the facilities of their choosing.

POLITICS

BUDGET, ECONOMY & FINANCE

FOREIGN AFFAIRS & DEFENSE

  • The U.S. military broadened its airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq,  targeting the terrorist organization "southwest of Baghdad"-the 162nd such strikes since August 8.
  • The Senate on Thursday easily approved a $1 trillion government-funding bill that gives President Obama new authority to battle the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Read more

HEALTH CARE

MEETINGS 

October 6, 2014
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 
Office of Pesticide Programs; Notice of Public Meeting   
SUMMARY: EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs, the USDA, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, are holding a 1-day workshop to provide a forum for stakeholders to offer scientific and technical feedback on the interim approaches that were issued in November 2013 by EPA, USDA, and the Services in response to the National Academy of Sciences report entitled, "Assessing Risks to Endangered and Threatened Species from Pesticides.''
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-17/html/2014-22162.htm 

November 6-7, 2014
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY  
Meeting of the National Drinking Water Advisory Council SUMMARY: The EPA is announcing a meeting of the National Drinking Water Advisory Council, as authorized under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-16/html/2014-22060.htm 

December 2-5, 2014
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY  
FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel; Notice of Public Meeting  
SUMMARY: There will be a 4-day meeting of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel (FIFRA SAP) to consider and review Integrated Endocrine Activity and Exposure-based Prioritization and Screening. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-16/html/2014-22044.htm 

FOOD SAFETY

October 20, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
Importation of Mangoes From Jamaica Into the Continental United States  
SUMMARY: We are amending the regulations concerning the importation of fruits and vegetables to allow the importation of mangoes from Jamaica into the continental United States. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-18/html/2014-22290.htm 

November 17, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
Notice of Request for Reinstatement of an Information Collection: Qualitative Feedback on Agency Service Delivery  
SUMMARY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Food Safety and Inspection Service's intention to reinstate an information collection associated with qualitative customer and stakeholder feedback on service delivery by the Food Safety and Inspection Service.  
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-17/html/2014-22205.htm 

November 18, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
Change in Accredited Laboratory Fees 
SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is amending its regulations to change the fees it charges for the accreditation and the maintenance of accreditation of non-Federal laboratories for the FSIS Accredited Lab Program (ALP). 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-19/html/2014-22208.htm 

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE   
Electronic Import Inspection Application and Certification of Imported Products and Foreign Establishments; Amendments To Facilitate the Public Health Information System (PHIS) and Other Changes to Import Inspection Regulations  
SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is amending the meat, poultry, and egg products import regulations to provide for the Agency's Public Health Information System (PHIS) Import Component. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-19/html/2014-22206.htm 

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
Notice of Request for Renewal of an Information Collection: Salmonella Initiative Program (SIP)  
SUMMARY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Food Safety and Inspection Service's intention to renew an information collection related to the Salmonella Initiative Program (SIP). 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-19/html/2014-22441.htm 

MARKETING

September 18, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
National Sheep Industry Improvement Center  
SUMMARY: AMS is affirming without changes, its interim rule to promulgate rules and regulations as provided under the Agriculture Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill). 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-17/html/2014-22125.htm 

September 19, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
Avocados Grown in South Florida and Imported Avocados; Change in Maturity Requirements   
SUMMARY: This rule changes the maturity requirements currently prescribed under the Florida avocado marketing order (order). 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-16/html/2014-22052.htm 

OTHER ITEMS

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE 
Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp From India: Notice of Correction to the Final Results of the 2012-2013 Antidumping Duty Administrative Review
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-16/html/2014-22074.htm 

September 17, 2014
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 
Butanedioic Acid, 2-methylene-, Polymer With 2,5-fuandione, Sodium and Ammonium Salts, Hydrogen Peroxide-Initiated; Tolerance Exemption 
SUMMARY: This regulation establishes an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of butanedioic acid, 2-methylene-, polymer with 2,5-furandione, sodium and ammonium salts, hydrogen peroxide- initiated when used as an inert ingredient in a pesticide formulation. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-17/html/2014-22159.htm 

September 19, 2014
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY  
2-Propenoic acid, butyl ester, polymer With 1,6- diisocyanatohexane, N-(hydroxymethyl)-2-methyl-2-propenamide and 2- propenenitrile; Tolerance Exemption 
SUMMARY: This regulation establishes an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of 2-propenoic acid, butyl ester, polymer with 1,6-diisocyanatohexane, N-(hydroxymethyl)-2-methyl-2-propenamide and 2-propenenitrile (CAS Reg. No. 1469998-09-1) when used as an inert ingredient in a pesticide formulation. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-19/html/2014-22287.htm 

October 1, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE 
Methodology and Formulas for Allocation of Loan and Grant Program Funds   
SUMMARY: The Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS) is publishing this final rule for allocating program funds to its State Offices.
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-19/html/2014-22309.htm 

October 20, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
Field Release of Diaphorencyrtus aligarhensis for the Biological Control of Asian Citrus Psyllid in the Contiguous United States; Availability of an Environmental Assessment 
SUMMARY: We are advising the public that a draft environmental assessment has been prepared by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service relative to the proposed release of Diaphorencyrtus aligarhensis for the biological control of the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri, in the contiguous United States. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-18/html/2014-22288.htm 

October 24, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE 

National Agricultural Statistics Service Notice of Invitation for Nominations to the Advisory Committee on Agriculture Statistics  
SUMMARY: In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App. 2, this notice announces an invitation from the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture for nominations to the Advisory Committee on Agriculture Statistics.
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-18/html/2014-22271.htm 

November 17, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE 
Food and Nutrition Service Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Pre- Screening Tool  
SUMMARY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice invites the general public and other public agencies to comment on the proposed information collection. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-16/html/2014-21948.htm 

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Eliminate the 6-Day Reservation Period Requirement for Rural Development Obligations   
SUMMARY: Rural Development (RD) is amending the regulations so that an obligation date for all guaranteed loans, direct loans, and grants will no longer be 6 working days from the date of request for reservation of authority. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-18/html/2014-21704.htm 

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
Notice of Request for Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Trichinae Certification Program  
SUMMARY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's intention to request an extension of approval of an information collection associated with the voluntary Trichinae Certification Program to enhance the ability of U.S. pork producers to export pork and pork products to overseas markets.  
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-18/html/2014-22256.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.