Public Meetings, Congressional Hearings, Calls for Comments Weekly news courtesy of bipartisan public affairs firm Cornerstone Government Affairs

CONGRESS NEWS

USDA REPORTS & NEWS

Reports

News

  • Vilsack denies cotton growers' aid request, says Congress must act. Agri-Pulse
  • USDA, Obama commit to food safety research. Food Safety News
  • USDA, NFL, Fuel Up to Play 60 partner to award $35 million to help schools serve healthier meals, strengthening childhood nutrition. USDA
  • APHIS seeks comments on scope of biotech regulation EIS. Agri-Pulse

WHITE HOUSE NEWS

2016 CAMPAIGN NEWS

  • Iowa caucus winners and losers. The Hill
  • Do-or-die in New Hampshire for struggling candidates. The Hill
  • New poll sheds light on how farmers, ranchers will vote for president. Agri-Pulse
  • Democratic establishment starts to gang up on Sanders. The Hill
  • Female senators urge Warren: Back Hillary Clinton. The Hill
  • O'Malley ends White House bid. The Hill
  • Pelosi inches closer to endorsement of Clinton. The Hill
  • Clinton, Sanders tangle in heated debate. The Hill
  • Cruz overcomes ethanol opposition to win Iowa caucuses. Agri-Pulse
  • GOP wants end to pro-Bush attacks on Rubio. The Hill
  • Trump faces must-win fight in Granite State. The Hill
  • Rubio allies seek converts after Iowa. The Hill
  • Santorum drops out of GOP race. The Hill
  • Rand Paul drops 2016 bid. The Hill
  • Huckabee suspends campaign. The Hill

TRADE NEWS

  • TPP is signed, but ag leaders are skeptical of passage this year. Agri-Pulse
  • U.S. joins 11 nations in signing Pacific trade deal. The Hill
  • GOP in no hurry to move on trade deal. The Hill
  • Clinton: I won't support trade deal without changes. The Hill
  • Warren: Congress should reject Obama trade deal. The Hill
  • Vulnerable senator comes out against Obama trade pact. The Hill
  • Sanders vows to stop Obama trade deal. The Hill

IN OTHER NEWS

  • NASDA cues up FSMA implementation and GMO labeling at conference. Food Safety News

RULES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE
Kiwifruit Grown in California; Increased Assessment Rate
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: This rule implements a recommendation from the Kiwifruit Administrative Committee (Committee) for an increase of the assessment rate established for the 2015-16 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.025 to $0.040 per 9-kilo volume-fill container or equivalent of kiwifruit handled under the marketing order (order). The Committee locally administers the order, and is comprised of growers of kiwifruit operating within the area of production. Assessments upon kiwifruit handlers are used by the Committee to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The fiscal period begins on August 1 and ends July 31. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated. 
DATES: Effective February 4, 2016.
LINK: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-02-03/html/2016-02067.htm

FARM CREDIT ADMINISTRATION 
Farm Credit Administration Board; Sunshine Act; Regular Meeting 
SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given, pursuant to the Government in the Sunshine Act, of the regular meeting of the Farm Credit Administration Board (Board). 
DATES: The regular meeting of the Board will be held at the offices of the Farm Credit Administration in McLean, Virginia, on February 11, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. until such time as the Board concludes its business.
LINK: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-02-04/html/2016-02295.htm

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
Competitive and Noncompetitive Non-Formula Federal Assistance Programs--General Award Administrative Provisions and Specific Administrative Provisions 
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is publishing as a final rule, a set of general and specific administrative requirements applicable to competitive and non- competitive non-formula programs. The purpose of this final rule is to implement sections of the Agriculture Act of 2014 making it necessary to modify the general administrative provisions as well as specific grant programs. 
DATES: This final rule becomes effective on February 8, 2016.
LINK: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-02-08/html/2016-02213.htm

Call for Comments

Use of the Term “Natural” in Food Labeling

The Food and Drug Administration is requesting information and comments on the use of the term “natural” in the labeling of human food products, including foods that are genetically engineered or contain ingredients produced through the use of genetic engineering. IFT is considering submitting comments, and welcomes information, suggestions, and comments for consideration. Please respond to Farida Mohamedshah by Wednesday, March 2nd.   The Fed. Reg. notice is available here.