Public Meetings, Congressional Hearings, Calls for Comments

FOOD & AGRICULTURE 

  • View the CRS report on Farm Commodity Provisions in the 2014 Farm Bill. 
  • View the CRS report on Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers.
  • The President met with newly named members of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, including Chobani's CEO, who described his induction as a 'great honor.' Read more 
  • Farmers and ranchers can sign-up for federal disaster assistance programs beginning April 15. Quick implementation of the disaster programs is a top priority, according to the USDA. Read more
  • Armed U.S. rangers are rounding up cattle on federal land in Nevada in a rare showdown with a rancher who has illegally grazed his herd on public lands for decades, as conflict over land use simmers in western states. Read more
  • An alliance of food activists and anti-regulation libertarians is battling to legalize raw, unpasteurized milk, despite warnings from health officials about the rising toll of illnesses affecting adults and children alike. Read more
  • The Sorghum Checkoff is seeking pre-proposals for targeted research and education in strategic program areas including crop improvement, high value markets and renewables. Read more
  • An FDA success story on antibiotics: The agency's voluntary guidelines to curb overuse of agricultural antibiotics have been a surprising success. Read more
  • The topic of genetically modified food has come up in a handful of hearings lately, and the message from this administration has been an encouraging one in support of the need to stick to science. Read more
  • The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) held its spring Legislative Action Conference in Washington, D.C. last week. Read more
  • Vilsack, talking to agriculture reporters, said PED reflects the ability of a disease carried by global trade to sweep through the country and wreak havoc on an industry. Read more
  • Wilbur-Ellis announces upgrade for AgVerdict precision ag software. Read more
  • Farmers and ranchers need tax certainty to thrive in a modern economy, and making permanent deductions that expired in 2013 is a good first step, the American Farm Bureau Federation told the House Ways and Means Committee. Read more
  • How will delayed spring affect final corn acres? Read more
  • This year's Florida orange crop is approaching the fruit's lowest harvest in decades, and experts say a deadly bacteria that's infecting the trees is to blame. Read more

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2014/04/09/4948091/floridas-orange-production-is.html#storylink=cpy 

  • Reps. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., and G. K. Butterfield, D-N.C., both members of the Energy and Commerce Committee, are introducing a bill that creates a federal standard for voluntarily labeling foods that are not genetically modified and requires additional reviews for foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients, or "GMO" foods. Read more
  • During Wednesday's keynote address at the Food Safety Summit in Baltimore, MD, the CEOs of Chiquita Brands and Kwik Trip shared their views on why food safety is important to them and their companies. Read more
  • Some California citrus growers face complete loss. Read more
  • The drought that is withering vegetable and fruit crops in California may push up food prices more than the dry spell that ravaged the Corn Belt in 2012, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. Read more 
  • Taco Bell reveals next moves: Brand releases new breakfast ad, plans next Doritos Locos Tacos rollout. Read more
  • Wal-Mart partners with Wild Oats to roll back prices on organic food. Read more
  • The U.S. economy gained 192,000 jobs in March, and employers hired more than was previously estimated for January and February, offering hope for a spring rebound, according to the preliminary federal jobs report issued Friday. Read more
  • Proposed new professional standards for food-service workers would create a financial burden for some districts and make it difficult for schools in some areas to find qualified staff, national organizations said in public comments about the rule. Read more
  • Over a lifetime, the medical costs associated with childhood obesity total about $19,000 per child compared with those for a child of normal weight, a new analysis shows. Read more
  • You know an unhealthy diet can make you fat, but new research suggests it can sap your motivation too. Read more
  • Beef prices hit all-time high in US: Extreme weather has thinned the nation's cattle herds, roiling the beef supply chain from rancher to restaurant. Read more
  • Chairwoman Stabenow: Advanced biofuels to grow economy, create jobs and lower prices at the pump. Read more
  • Bipartisan group of lawmakers introduce the Customer Protection and End-User Relief Act. Read more
  • The Interior Department released a strategy document Thursday that it said will create certainty and predictability for oil, natural gas and other energy developers using federal land while taking a "landscape-scale" approach to mitigating impacts. Read more 
  • A proposed rule change to the Clean Water Act has been created to clarify what is and what is not protected under a law that was passed by Congress in 1972 but later muddied by at least three Supreme Court rulings. Read more
  • USDA announced it will spend $48 million from the 2014 farm bill to help prevent the introduction or spread of invasive pests and crop diseases. Read more
  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that over $300 million will be paid to 41 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in support of local schools and roads as part of the Congressional reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. Read more
  • The USDA announced that farmers and ranchers can sign-up for disaster assistance programs, reestablished and strengthened by the 2014 Farm Bill, beginning Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Quick implementation of the programs has been a top priority for USDA.  Read more
  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the appointment of eight individuals to serve on the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) Advisory Board. Read more
  • Tom Vilsack announced that the USDA will provide $183 million in U.S. agricultural commodities and support to benefit an estimated 2.7 million children in 10 developing countries as part of the McGovern-Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. Read more
  • As the 2014 wildfire season approaches, Tom Vilsack, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and Council on Environmental Quality Acting Chairman Mike Boots released the Administration's National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy. This strategy, developed by federal, state, tribal and local community partners, and public stakeholders, outlines new approaches to coordinate and integrate efforts to restore and maintain healthy landscapes, prepare communities for fire season, and better address the nation's wildland fire threats. Read more
  • Indiana has joined Ohio, North Dakota and Wisconsin in a voluntary meat and poultry shipment program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service. Read more
  • Tom Vilsack announced the availability of more than $19 million in grants to help train, educate and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of agricultural producers through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). Read more

TRADE 

  • The Senate voted 75-21 Wednesday to confirm Wanda Felton to be vice president of the Export-Import Bank. Read more 
  • Chinese importers have defaulted on at least 500,000 tons of U.S. and Brazilian soybean cargoes worth around $300 million, the biggest in a decade, as buyers struggle to get credit amid losses in processing beans. Read more 
  • Japan, U.S. make progress in trade talks; key gaps remain. Read more
  • Ag Committee Approves Bipartisan Legislation to Reauthorize and Improve the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Read more
  • View Senator Cochran's statement on CFTC nominees. 
  • Japan and Australia have agreed on a free trade deal that both sides say will yield windfalls for their economies. Read more 
  • U.S. exporters hope China, Japan lift pig restrictions soon. Read more
  • Will flash trades now lead to a financial transaction tax? Read more 
  • View the statement by Michael Punke at the WTO Trade Negotiations Committee. 
  • The United States welcomes new opportunities for U.S. suppliers under revised WTO Government Procurement Agreement. Read more
  • Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott sealed trade deals with Japan and South Korea as he seeks to boost exports of everything from beef to canned tomatoes and lower prices on cars and appliances for consumers. Read more
  • The most deadly outbreak of a hog virus in 18 years in Japan is raising pork prices and may boost imports from the biggest buyer, supporting a record rally in Chicago. Read more 
  • U.S. beef shipments to Japan may drop after the largest Asian buyer agreed with Australia to begin reducing import tariffs as early as next year, Japan's agriculture ministry said. Read more  
  • China has allowed Brazilian corn imports to start this month, a further blow to U.S. exports to the world's No.2 consumer of the grain already hurt by the discovery of an unapproved genetically modified strain in shipments. Read more

INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURE NEWS

  • Syngenta announced that it has acquired Societa Produttori Sementi, one of Italy's oldest seed companies and a leader in durum wheat breeding and production for pasta. Read more
  • Yum! Brands Inc. is set to open a new restaurant concept in Arlington, Texas, on Wednesday called Super Chix, a self-proclaimed purveyor of "the last true chicken sandwich." Read more
  • Pizza Hut has opened its first location in Iraq, in the Majidi Mall in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region. Read more 
  • Developing nations major contributors to pollution, climate change emissions. Read more
  • Chinese pork giant WH Group plans $5.3 billion IPO in Hong Kong. Read more
  • While China's economy may be slowing, its love affair with pizza is raging. Read more 
  • Three Canadian grain handlers said this week that they will expand facilities to handle the country's crops, after a record-smashing harvest overwhelmed the transportation system. Read more
  • McDonald's created a timelapse video of the construction of its first restaurant in Vietnam, located in Ho Chi Minh City, which opened on Feb. 8. Read more 

USDA REPORTS

View USDA's reports on: 

WHITE HOUSE

  • The president and first lady attended a memorial service at Fort Hood honoring the victims of last week's shooting, with the president noting the parallel to the 2009 incident.
  • Obama signed an executive order barring federal contractors from retaliating against workers who discuss their pay, and directed the Labor Department to require federal contractors to provide gender and racial breakdowns in their disclosures of employee compensation. 

CONGRESS

POLITICS

  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) joined the leader of the state party in calling for Rep. Vince McAllister (R-La.) to resign on Thursday, after a video surfaced earlier this week showing him kissing a married staffer. Read more 
  • Ted Kennedy Jr., son of the longtime Massachusetts senator, will seek a seat in the Connecticut state Senate

BUDGET & ECONOMY

HEALTH CARE

  • Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will resign from President Obama's Cabinet on Friday, ceding her role as the top official in charge of ObamaCare. Read more
  • Health and Human Services announced that same-sex married couples may apply for Medicare benefits for the first time, following the June 2013 Supreme Court decision overturning DOMA.
  • ACA open enrollment has ended, but the Medicaid enrollment system is still experiencing serious issues reminiscent of the early days of HealthCare.gov, leading to a significant backlog of applications in some states. 

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

MEETINGS

May 2, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE 
Office of Tribal Relations; Council for Native American Farming and Ranching  
SUMMARY: This notice announces a forthcoming meeting of The Council for Native American Farming and Ranching (CNAFR), a public advisory committee of the Office of Tribal Relations (OTR). Notice of the meetings are provided in accordance with section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended in 5 U.S.C. Appendix 2. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-11/html/2014-08187.htm

May 13, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
Plant Variety Protection Board; Open Teleconference Meeting  
SUMMARY: This notice is intended to notify the public of their opportunity to attend an open meeting of the Plant Variety Protection Board. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-07/html/2014-07703.htm

July 10, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
General Conference Committee of the National Poultry Improvement Plan and 42nd Biennial Conference
SUMMARY: We are giving notice of a meeting of the General Conference Committee of the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) and the NPIP's 42nd Biennial Conference.  
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-08/html/2014-07847.htm

MARKETING

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
Oranges, Grapefruit, Tangerines, and Tangelos Grown in Florida; Relaxing Size and Grade Requirements on Valencia and Other Late Type Oranges 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-09/html/C1-2013-11389.htm

April 8, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
Christmas Tree Promotion, Research, and Information Order; Lifting of the Stay of Regulation  
SUMMARY: On November 8, 2011, a final rule was published in the Federal Register (76 FR 69094) establishing an industry-funded promotion, research, and information program for fresh cut Christmas trees. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-07/html/2014-07684.htm

May 15 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
Kiwifruit Grown in California; Continuance Referendum 
SUMMARY: This document directs that a referendum be conducted among eligible California kiwifruit growers to determine whether they favor continuance of the marketing order regulating the handling of kiwifruit grown in California.
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-09/html/2014-07980.htm

June 6, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
Domestic Dates Produced or Packed in Riverside County, California; Revision of Assessment Requirements
SUMMARY: This proposed rule invites comments on proposed rules and regulations necessary for the California Date Administrative Committee (committee) to exercise its authority to impose interest and late payment charges on overdue handler assessments. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-07/html/2014-07701.htm

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
Christmas Tree Promotion, Research, and Information Order; Request for Reinstatement of a Previously Approved Information Collection for Which Approval has Expired  
SUMMARY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), this document announces the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) intention to request reinstatement of a previously approved information collection from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), for which approval has expired for the Christmas Tree Promotion, Research, and Information Program (Order). 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-07/html/2014-07706.htm

FOOD SAFETY

March 11, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES 
Eastman Chemical Company; Filing of Food Additive Petition  
SUMMARY: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) is announcing that we have filed a petition, submitted by Eastman Chemical Company, proposing that the food additive regulations be amended to remove the upper bound of the melting point range in the regulation for the antioxidant TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone) and add a purity acceptance criterion.  
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-08/html/2014-07632.htm 

May 12, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
Consolidation of Permit Procedures; Denial and Revocation of Permits 
SUMMARY: We are consolidating the regulations concerning the issuance of permits for the importation and interstate movement of a wide variety of regulated plants, plant products, and other articles.
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-10/html/2014-08095.htm 

May 13, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES 
Listing of Color Additives Exempt From Certification; Spirulina Extract   
SUMMARY: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) is amending the color additive regulations to provide for the expanded safe use of spirulina extract as a color additive in food. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-11/html/2014-08099.htm

June 9, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES 
Draft Guidance for Industry: Proper Labeling of Honey and Honey Products; Availability  
SUMMARY: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) is announcing the availability of a draft guidance for industry entitled "Guidance for Industry: Proper Labeling [[Page 19621]] of Honey and Honey Products.'' 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-09/html/2014-07925.htm

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
Importation of Fresh Unshu Oranges From Japan Into the United States  
SUMMARY: We are proposing to amend the regulations concerning the importation of citrus fruit to remove certain restrictions on the importation of Unshu oranges from Japan that are no longer necessary. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-10/html/2014-08019.htm

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Expansion of Areas in the Philippines Considered Free of Mango Seed Weevil and Mango Pulp Weevil and Establishment of a Lower Irradiation Dose as a Treatment for Mango Pulp Weevil  
SUMMARY: We are proposing to amend the list of designated pest-free areas for mango seed weevil and mango pulp weevil within the Philippines. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-10/html/2014-08020.htm

OTHER ITEMS

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
National Wildlife Services Advisory Committee; Reestablishment  
SUMMARY: We are giving notice that the Secretary of Agriculture will reestablish the National Wildlife Services Advisory Committee for a 2- year period. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-08/html/2014-07849.htm

October 1, 2013-September 30, 2015
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE 
Office of the Secretary Notice of Appointment of Members to the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board   
SUMMARY: In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App 2, the United States Department of Agriculture announces the appointments made by the Secretary of Agriculture to the 8 vacancies on the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board.  
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-10/html/2014-08026.htm

April 9, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  
Tobacco Transition Program Assessments; Final Appeals and Revisions Procedures  
SUMMARY: The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) is amending the regulations for the Tobacco Transition Program (TTP) to clarify the final administrative actions required for the orderly close-out of the program. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-09/html/2014-07979.htm

 ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY  
Imazapyr; Pesticide Tolerances  
SUMMARY: This regulation establishes tolerances for residues of imazapyr in or on soybean, meal at 4.5 ppm; and soybean, seed at 4.0 ppm. BASF Corporation requested these tolerances under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA).  
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-09/html/2014-07694.htm
April 11, 2014
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY  
Fluoxastrobin; Pesticide Tolerances 
SUMMARY: This regulation establishes tolerances for residues of fluoxastrobin in or on wheat, grain; and revises tolerances for milk; and milk, fat. Arysta LifeScience, North America, LLC, requested these tolerances under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA).
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-11/html/2014-07820.htm

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY  
Product Cancellation Order for Certain Pesticide Registrations
SUMMARY: This notice announces EPA's order for the cancellations, voluntarily requested by the registrants and accepted by the Agency of the products listed in Table 1 of Unit II., pursuant to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-11/html/2014-08206.htm

May 2, 2014
OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE 
WTO Dispute Settlement Proceeding Regarding Certain Methodologies and Their Application to Anti-Dumping Proceedings Involving China 
SUMMARY: The Office of the United States Trade Representative ("USTR'') is providing notice that the People's Republic of China ("China'') has requested the establishment of a dispute settlement panel under the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization ("WTO Agreement''). 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-08/html/2014-07876.htm

May 9, 2014
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY  
Pesticide Experimental Use Permit; Receipt of Application, Comment Request
SUMMARY: This notice announces EPA's receipt of an application 8917- EUP-R from J.R. Simplot Company requesting an experimental use permit (EUP) for the Rpi-vnt1 gene that expresses the VNT1 protein in InnateTM 2.0 branded potato varieties. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-09/html/2014-07819.htm

June 9, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE 
Farm Service Agency Information Collection; Transfer of Farm Records Between Counties  
SUMMARY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) is seeking comments from interested individuals and organizations on an extension with a revision of a currently approved information collection associated with transferring of farm records from one administrative county office to another. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-09/html/2014-07867.htm

October 8, 2014
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 
Notice of Receipt of Requests To Voluntarily Cancel Certain Pesticide Registrations   
SUMMARY: In accordance with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), EPA is issuing a notice of receipt of requests by registrants to voluntarily cancel certain pesticide registrations.  
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-11/html/2014-08035.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.

2013 Scientific Program

IFT's 2013 Scientific Program will have something for food professionals in virtually every sector and at all levels of experience.

The 2013 IFT Annual Meeting Scientific Program is organized around key industry focus areas and core sciences that are the foundation of the food science discipline.

Explore the 2013 tracks