News

  • Britt  Aasmundstad Posted on 02/14/2017 by Britt Aasmundstad

    Last week, The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its decision to recommend California enact a Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO). Comments from the public will be accepted for 90 days after the official publication in the Federal Register, on Tuesday, February 14th.

    FMMOs establish provisions in which dairy processors buy milk from dairy farmers that supply a marketing area, and regulate the purchasing of milk between farmers and buyers. A marketing area can be defined as a geographic area where dairy processors compete for packaged fluid milk sales. The marketing area recommended by USDA would cover the entire state of California.

    Where it is applicable, the FMMO will propose the adoption of uniform order provisions included in the 10 current FMMOs. These provisions include dairy product classification, end product price formulas and the producer handler definition.

    California produces over 20% of all U.S. milk production and is currently regulated by a state milk ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 02/14/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    The Arkansas Agriculture Department is looking for a summer intern to help promote programs offered through the Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA) that help Arkansas agricultural businesses sell their products in international markets. This summer internship pays!

    As an intern, you will gain knowledge and experience in:

    • Arkansas Agriculture;
    • Global produce/food markets;
    • Challenges in exporting;
    • Communication & Marketing.

    In order to apply for the Arkansas Agriculture Department/SUSTA Internship Program, you must:

    • Be enrolled in undergraduate coursework for a degree;
    • Be in good standing with your school;
    • Not be more than halfway through your final semester;
    • Be willing to work in Little Rock;

    Students studying agricultural business, agricultural economics, business, international business, marketing or related fields preferred.

    To apply, submit the following documents by email to Christian.olson@aad.ar.gov:

    1. A Resume demonstrating academic ...
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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 02/14/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    Californians throw away nearly 6 million tons of food scraps or food waste each year. This represents about 18 percent of all the material that goes to landfills. In order for California to reach its goal of 75% source reduction, recycling and composting, food waste must be addressed.

    California’s Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling law requires businesses to recycle their organic waste. The links below provide more information on food waste management as well as examples of how various business groups and public entities are managing food waste.

    Everyone has a role in saving resources and wasting less food. Creative food rescue projects like the UglyFruitAndVeg Campaign work to save healthy fruits and vegetables from becoming waste. Rather than throwing away excess food, find ways to manage it more thoughtfully, such as working with groups to ensure that it goes to disadvantaged people, and composting for soil restoration. To further educate the public about food waste, ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 02/14/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) recently announced the availability of $27 million in grants to fund innovative projects designed to strengthen market opportunities for local and regional food producers and businesses. The grants available include the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) grants, and the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP).

    AMS will host a webinar for potential FMPP and LFPP grant applicants on Wednesday, February 15, 2017, at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time, and a teleconference for potential FSMIP grant applicants on Thursday, February 16, 2017, at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time.  For more information about FSMIP, FMPP and LFPP, visit: www.ams.usda.gov/AMSgrants.  The website also contains a link to a grants decision tree, "What AMS Grant is Right for ME?”, to help applicants determine which AMS grant fits their project best. 

    The grant applications for FSMIP, FMPP and LFPP must be ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 02/14/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    The North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Service Food & Drug Protection Division is now seeking applicants for a Dairy Administrator.

    This position will be responsible for management of the North Carolina Grade A Dairy Program, including enforcement of the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act, the NC Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the NC Administrative Code, the USPHS/FDA Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO), FDA Guidance Documents and NCIMS Model Documents.  Duties include managing inspections, ratings, sample collections, investigations, compliance, and enforcement activities; monitoring and responding to complaints, recalls, potential foodborne illness outbreaks, and dairy farm and processing plant emergencies; developing and executing contracts and cooperative agreements with FDA or other entities to support Program activities; managing the Dairy Program budget; collaborating with federal, state, and local agencies, including public health, universities, ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 02/14/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    New Educational Website Explores Plant Breeding Innovation, Gene Editing

    What is plant breeding innovation? What do plant breeders do? And what could new breeding techniques like gene editing mean for the future of agriculture and our society? Find answers to these questions and more at Seeding Innovation website-- a public-facing educational resource developed by ASTA.

    The plant breeding innovation microsite is a multimedia platform that houses FAQs, a blog, plant breeder profiles, videos, one-pagers and other educational resources about the evolution-and future--of plant breeding. Visit www.seedinginnovation.org and follow @Better_Seed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to learn more. Watch the Man on the Street video as a preview of what's to come!

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 02/14/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    This Valentine’s Day, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets is taking a moment to proclaim its love for Vermont’s farmers.

    “The Vermont we know and love simply would not exist without the hardworking women and men who dedicate their lives to agriculture,” says Vermont’s Ag Secretary, Anson Tebbetts.  “Farmers provide food, create jobs, keep our landscape open, and support our local communities. Farmers deserve our adoration!”

    Tebbetts thinks Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion for Vermonters to profess their fond feelings for farmers.

    “There are so many reasons to love Vermont agriculture, it’s nearly impossible to count the ways,” Tebbetts added.

    But here’s a start…

    Ten Reasons to Love Vermont Farmers

    1. There are over 7,300 farms in Vermont, and each is unique.
    2. Vermont is known for its dairy and maple industries, but our agriculture runs the gambit. Vermont farmers are ...
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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 02/07/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    This story originally appeared in Modern Farmer written by Brian Barth.

    Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit founded by chef Michel Nischan, is renowned in social justice circles for its success in bringing healthy food to those who need it most. The organization pioneered the idea of doubling the value of SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) when recipients use them to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables, which is now commonplace across the country.

    Less known is that for the last six years, Wholesome Wave has worked quietly on an equally ambitious initiative: getting healthcare providers to write prescriptions for produce, rather than just pills. It’s called FVRx (Fruit and Vegetable Rx) and its ready to storm the nation—starting with downtown LA.

    Target, the national retail chain, has sponsored the biggest FVRx program to date, in which more than 500 families who receive healthcare services at the Eisner Pediatric and Family Medical Center in Los Angeles are ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 02/07/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    The Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) is seeking partners for an innovative program called the Fruits and Vegetables Fund (F&V Fund). In 2016, the CAFB distributed over 46 million pounds of food, 15 million of which was fresh fruits and vegetables in part due to the F&V Fund. Each CAFB partners with local farms to purchase high-quality, cosmetically imperfect produce to provide to their partner agencies through Agency Mart, where they can pick up the produce at no cost. This allows CAFB to both provide more nutritious food to their partners and to support local agriculture by guaranteeing a steady source of income.

    CAFB is now accepting bids for the 2017 F&V season, which will run from June to December. Interested parties should send the completed agreement to me by COB on March 1, 2017, and growers invited to participate will be sent a separate contract prior to the start of the season. For more information contact Lauren Sauder at ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 02/07/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    Checkoff programs, commonly referred to as research and promotion programs, are designed to promote and provide research and information for a particular agricultural commodity without reference to specific producers or brands.  State and federal checkoff programs for beef, soybeans, rice, pork, and many other commodities play a critical role in supporting industry promotion, information, and research programs.  Additionally, the programs are important to states’ departments of agriculture, states’ farm bureaus, the land grant university system, producers, and others.  Checkoff programs are increasingly the target of litigation efforts as well as important regulatory developments.  This webinar will provide a comprehensive overview and update on recent and emerging legal issues involving state and federal checkoff programs.

    Wednesday, February 15th, 2017
    12:00 – 1:00 (EST)
    Click here to access the webinar shortly before it begins.

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  • Charlie Ingram Posted on 02/07/2017 by Charlie Ingram

    USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is conducting the 2016 Certified Organic Survey to gather new data on certified organic crops and livestock commodities in the United States. This effort is critical to help determine the economic impact of certified organic agriculture production in the United States.

    NASS is mailing the survey to all known certified organic farms and ranches within the 50 states. The form asks producers to provide information on acreage, production, and sales, as well as production and marketing practices. The agency asks all participants to respond by February 19. Producers can return their forms by mail or complete the survey online at www.agcounts.usda.gov.

    “In recent years, U.S. farms and ranches have experienced tremendous growth in certified organic agriculture sales. Last year, NASS reported that U.S. certified organic producers sold a total of $6.2 billion in products in 2015, up 13 percent since 2014,” said Adam ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 02/07/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    Attend the Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference & Trade Show in Sturbridge, March 7-9 and Turn Up the Volume on Your Farm Marketing! Experience nearly 30 workshops on topics such as retail and wholesale marketing, agri-tourism, business planning, value added product development, social media, online marketing and more!

    A small sampling of the workshops include: Legal Structures for Your Farm, The Latest Food Trends and the Power of “Local,” Get More from Your Online Marketing and Social Media, Running Your Business (Instead of Letting it Run You!), On-Farm Food Festivals and Dinners, and also Financing and On-Line Crowd Funding Platforms: How do They Work? Are they Right for Me?

    Are you looking to develop a value-added product? The value added track will take you from product conception to marketing.  An all day workshop for New England Farmers’ Market Managers will be held on Wednesday, March 8th. Don’t forget the trade show with ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 02/07/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    Nevada: Department of Agriculture Currently Accepting Summer Food Service Program Partners

    The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) is seeking sponsors to provide free meals to children during the summer through the federally funded Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

    “Nevada’s youth need nutritious meals year round, and this program provides food for children outside of the normal school year,” said Donnell Barton, administrator of the NDA’s Food and Nutrition Division. “Last year, more than 650,000 meals were distributed by schools, non-profits, government agencies, Native American tribes and other partners.”

    Sponsors may prepare meals or serve meals obtained from another SFSP sponsor, public or commercial food vendor, a local government agency or a school food service department. All meals must meet USDA’s minimum meal pattern requirements. Past year’s sponsors have included Three Square Food Bank, Food Bank or Northern Nevada, churches, city parks, schools and Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the state.

    “All ...

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  • Carly Grether Posted on 02/07/2017 by Carly Grether
    NASDA Seeking Applicants for Summer Internship Position

    NASDA, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, is seeking highly motivated students interested about the legislation and regulations that impact American agriculture. Applicants should be classified as a sophomore or greater by their academic institution and have excellent written and oral communication skills. A basic understanding of the legislative process is preferred but not required. This internship does provide a monthly stipend but housing is not provided. Start and end dates are flexible. The deadline to apply is Monday, February 27. Click here to learn how to apply.

    Caption: NASDA's spring intern, Lacie Dotterweich, had the opportunity to meet Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Social Media Guru Bill Northey at NASDA's recent Winter Policy Conference and become an overnight social media sensation!

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 02/07/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    Oklahoma: Oklahoma Enumerators Count Among Nation's Best

    Two employees at the Oklahoma Data Collection Center received national honors for the work they do in gathering agricultural information from farmers and ranchers. Rhonda Withrow was selected as the 2016 Supervisor of the Year and James McDaniel was selected as the 2016 Enumerator of the Year. The data they collect from phone surveys with producers provides needed information that affects the livelihood of individual farmers and farm communities across the country. Enumerators at the collection center are employees of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA).

    It takes more than good phone manners to be a successful phone enumerator. It also takes a certain amount of personal charm and persuasion. Survey questions take time from a farmer’s busy day and may require very detailed information about crops planted and harvested. Experienced enumerators like Withrow and McDaniel ask survey questions pleasantly but efficiently and understand farm operations ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 02/07/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    Vermont: Under New Leadership, VT Agency of Ag Launches Statewide Listening Tour for February

    Under the direction of newly-appointed Ag Secretary, Anson Tebbetts, and Deputy Secretary, Alyson Eastman, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets has announced plans to host a statewide listening tour throughout the month of February. The public meetings, which will be held in Lyndonville, St. Albans, Brattleboro, and Middlebury, are designed to open the lines of communication between the Agency, the farming community, and the public.

    “I am inviting all farmers, and all Vermonters interested in agriculture, to attend these meetings, to share thoughts and ideas about the future of farming in our state,” said Tebbetts. “I want to learn about the issues that matter most to our farmers, and how the Agency can support them.”

    “We hope to hear from farmers of all types, and sizes – from maple to meat, to produce and dairy,” said Eastman. “This is an opportunity for us to listen and learn from the people who are driving ...

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  • Charlie Ingram Posted on 01/24/2017 by Charlie Ingram

    Ample rain and moderate temperatures across the Nation’s mid-section led to record-high yield and production for corn and soybeans, both key U.S. crops, in 2016, according to the Crop Production 2016 Summary released January 12 by USDA’s  National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

    U.S. corn growers produced 15.1 billion bushels, up 11 percent from 2015. Corn yield in the U.S. is estimated at 174.6 bushels per acre, 6.2 bushels above last year’s average yield. Area harvested, at 86.7 million acres, is up 7 percent from 2015. The 2016 corn objective yield data indicate the third highest number of ears per acre on record for the combined objective yield States with record high ear counts in Ohio.

    Soybean production for 2016 totaled a record 4.31 billion bushels, up 10 percent from 2015. With record high levels across nearly all of the northern United States, from the northern Great Plains to the Appalachian Mountains, the average soybean yield is estimated ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 01/24/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    Production agriculture and the agricultural processing and manufacturing sectors are important elements of the economy in the State of Utah. These economic sectors contribute jobs, income, fiscal revenues, and quality of life to not only rural regions of the state, but also to its more urbanized regions. The recent Economic Impact of Agriculture on the State of Utah report calculates the economic contribution of agriculture production and processing to the economy for the state for the year 2014. The report, the third since 2008, shows a steady rise in agriculture’s economic contribution to the overall economy of Utah.

    • Percent of state output: The study shows the agriculture processing and production sectors combine to account for $21.2 billion in total economic output in Utah after adjusting for multiplier effects. ($15.2B in 2008)
    • Total state output:  Based on Utah’s 2014 Gross State Output, production agriculture and its associated processing sector accounts ...
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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 01/24/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    Jennifer Yezak, Former NASDA Staffer, Receives Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership Distinguished Alumnus Award

    Jennifer Yezak, former NASDA policy staff, was recently awarded the Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership Distinguished Alumnus Award at the Texas Agriculture Lifetime Leadership  "Tribue to Leadership" Reception. Yezak most recently served as the Senior Advisor to the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Her previous roles at the USDA also include Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary for Administation and before that Director of External and Intergovernmental Affairs.  Also honored was longtime American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob with the Texas Agricultural Lifetime Achievement Award.

    Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership is a competitive leadership development program that includes seminars with experts, on-site tours, meetings with business and government leaders, international study and personal skills improvement. It is funded by dedicated individuals and institutions through private gifts and grants. Participants pay a ...

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  • Nathan  Bowen Posted on 01/24/2017 by Nathan Bowen

    President Trump signed an executive order officially withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Monday. Because the agreement had not yet entered into force, Trump’s action this week effectively kills the agreement. The agreement required participation by countries representing 85 percent of the agreement’s gross domestic product which cannot be achieved without participation by the U.S. NASDA remains committed to advancing a trans-pacific trade agreement.

    Also this week, ahead of an anticipated announcement in the coming days on the president’s plans for NAFTA, NASDA and a host of other agriculture organizations touted the benefits of that agreement for agriculture in recent years. Both Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and Mexican President Pena Nieto have expressed willingness to meet and discuss potential changes to the agreement.

    Written by Lacie Dotterwich

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