News

  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 10/18/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    Members of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) and their counterparts from Mexico and Canada gathered today in Denver, Colorado to open the 26th annual Tri-National Agricultural Accord. The Tri-National Agricultural Accord represents a longstanding commitment among the senior state and provincial agricultural officials of Canada, the United States, and Mexico to work together collaboratively on agricultural trade and development issues. The vital importance of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for the agriculture and food processing economies of all three countries is the key focus of this year’s Accord.

    “We have the largest U.S. delegation in Accord history gathered here this week in a strong statement of U.S. agriculture’s commitment to maintaining the vital relationship we have with Mexico and Canada,” said NASDA President and Connecticut Commissioner of Agriculture Steven Reviczky. “As NAFTA negotiations ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 10/11/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    Recent years have seen increased enthusiasm for specialty crop agriculture, and opportunities for growth exist in this sector of agriculture throughout Kansas. To support and expand this growth in the specialty crop industry, the Kansas Department of Agriculture conducted the first-ever Statewide Survey of Specialty Crop Production in 2016.

    The voluntary survey was constructed to gather information about specialty crop production, as there is a lack of recent production history around the state. A total of 314 responses were received from Kansas farmers who raise specialty crops. Results indicated that 36 percent of specialty crop sales happen at local farmers’ markets, and 42 percent of responding growers are seeking to expand their operations and sales in the future.

    “We are committed to growing agriculture in Kansas, and that includes a wide variety of specialty products,” said Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey. “We know that means giving specialty ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 10/11/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    Earlier this week, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. declared a state of emergency for Solano County, Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties, and Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada and Orange counties due to the effects of multiple fires, and requested a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to support the state and local response to the Northern California fires, which was approved yesterday.

    The wildfiree have claimed a reported 17 lives thus far, burned over 100,000 acres, and required the evacutation of 20,000 residents from their homes. The White House has requested $576 million in wildfire aid from Congress in in the latest $12.8 billion disaster aid package.

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 10/11/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    This October, celebrate Farm to School Month with us by applying to the FY 2018 Farm to School Grant Program! The purpose of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program is to assist eligible entities in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. On an annual basis, USDA awards up to $5 million in competitive grants for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs. Grant funding is available for eligible entities including schools and school districts, state and local agencies, non-profit organizations, small- and medium-sized agricultural producers, and Indian Tribal Organizations. For FY 2018, we offer implementation grants, planning grants, and training grants. State agencies and Indian tribal organizations are a funding priority!

    Interested in applying? Completed applications must be submitted on grants.gov by 11:59pm ET on ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 10/11/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam recently announced that the United States Department of Agriculture awarded the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ comprehensive statewide promotion of the HealthierUS School Challenge during the 24th Annual Best Practice Awards in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program and Food Distribution Program.

    “It’s critical that children have access to the nutrition they need for academic success, and the HUSSC program does a great job ensuring wholesome foods and physical activities are readily available for Florida students,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.

    The USDA’s Annual Best Practice Awards recognize exemplary best practices within school nutrition programs. The department’s Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness has piloted several approaches to help schools implement healthier options, including individualized technical assistance and ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 10/11/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    The United State and South Korea have come to an agreement to begin discussions to amend the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS).

    "I now look forward to intensified engagement with Korea in an expeditious manner to resolve outstanding implementation issues as well as to engage soon on amendments that will lead to fair, reciprocal trade," U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer said.

    Both The United States and South Korea anticipate further discussions and/or meetings to be scheduled in the coming weeks.

    Written by Mitchell Liwanig

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 10/11/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced funding for the 2017 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP). California received $19.2 million out of approximately $60.6 million awarded nationwide.

    The SCBGP provides grants to state departments of agriculture to fund projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).

    “This is an essential program for California in meeting a state priority - helping our specialty crop growers remain competitive,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross.“The success of this grant program has generated widespread support for continued robust funding in the Farm Bill.”

    The program will fund 54 projects, awarding grants ranging from $50,000 to $450,000 to non-profit and for-profit organizations, government entities, and colleges and universities. Selected through a competitive process, these projects focus on ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 10/04/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    In an effort to support the safe evacuation of Puerto Ricans and their pets, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam issued an emergency order suspending import paperwork requirements for pets that arrive in Florida with their evacuee owners. This emergency order does not apply to stray animals or livestock.

    “Our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico face a long road to recovery, and they need all the support we can provide,” said Commissioner Adam H. Putnam. “By removing some of the hurdles for evacuees coming to Florida with companion pets, we’re making the process of evacuating to Florida easier.”

    The following import requirements are temporarily suspended:

    • Rule 5C-3.002(1), F.A.C. – All animals OCVI/Health Certificates requirement;
    • Rule 5C-3.009(1) and (3), F.A.C. – Dogs and Cats OCVI/Health Certificates and rabies vaccination requirements; and
    • Rule 5C-3.0012(1), F.A.C. – Domestic Fowl OCVI/Health Certificates requirement.
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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 10/04/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship today announced a new public-private partnership to deliver conservation planning and outreach services to expand conservation and water quality efforts in three targeted watersheds. 

    North Iowa Agronomy Partners in Waverly and LT Leon Associates Inc. in Des Moines, IA will assist farmers and landowners in the conservation planning process and help them access federal programs focused on installing additional conservation practices.

    The project is merging traditional approaches to deliver conservation through scaling up conservation planning and conservation practices with a non-traditional approach utilizing private agronomic, conservation and engineering service providers. Augmenting current, traditional efforts, this project will provide 240 new or updated conservation plans covering an estimated 46,000 acres.

    “This effort will increase our capacity to reach more individual farmers and landowners to help scale-up ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 10/04/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    October is National Farm to School Month, a time to celebrate connections happening all over the country between schools and local food producers. From the Trout to Tray program in Livingston, to the Garden to Cafeteria program in Hindsale, to Harvest of the Month taste tests in Geyser, there are great farm to school partnerships in every region of Montana.

    “We congratulate Montana’s producers, students, food service staff, and community partners for the amazing local food partnerships that have been formed across the state,” said Ben Thomas, MDA Director. “Procuring Montana food products for schools can be tricky business, and we applaud the dedication of farm to school programs for finding innovative ways to source food from Montana farmers, ranchers, and food companies.”

    Farm to school programs enhance the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 10/04/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    NASDA Members Heavily Engaged with Secretary Perdue

    NASDA Members across the nation have been meeting with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to talk about issues affecting their state and the nation.  Since his confirmation by the Senate in late April, Secretary Perdue has met with over 20 members with more to come by the end of the year. Below are a few meetings NASDA Members have had with Secretary Perdue.

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  • Nathan  Bowen Posted on 10/04/2017 by Nathan Bowen

    The Trump Administration has filed an additional formal request on September 28 for consultations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over British Columbia (BC) regulations that favor BC wines over imported US wines.  Notably, the BC regulations allow BC wine to be sold on grocery store shelves while US wines must be sold in a separate “store within a store.” 

    The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative filed an original request at the WTO for consultations over the British Columbia regulations on January 18, 2017.  This new request updates the previous request.

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 09/26/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    Results of the 2016 Certified Organic Survey released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) show that U.S. farms produced and sold $7.6 billion in certified organic commodities in 2016, up 23 percent from 2015. During the same year, the number of certified organic farms in the country increased 11 percent to 14,217, and the number of certified acres increased 15 percent to 5.0 million.

    Oklahoma had 2016 sales of $4.6 million in certified organic agricultural production compared with $2.1 million in 2015.

    “The survey provides a comprehensive look into certified organic agricultural production in Oklahoma and the rest of the nation,” said Troy Marshall, Oklahoma State Statistician.

    The survey results show the following about organic agriculture in Oklahoma in 2016:

    • Number of certified organic farms increased from 23 in 2015 to 34 in 2016 and acres rosefrom 6,082 to 18,008.
    • 29 farms had crop sales, 5 ...
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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 09/26/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    A message from Deputy Administrator for the Specialty Crops Program Sonia Jimenez

    I would like to remind rural communities, farmers and ranchers, families and small businesses impacted by Hurricane Irma that USDA has programs that provide assistance in the wake of disasters. USDA staff in the regional, state and county offices stand ready and eager to help.

    Our sister agency, the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), administers many safety-net programs to help producers recover from eligible losses, including the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish ProgramEmergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) and the Tree Assistance Program. The FSA Emergency Conservation Program provides funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters. Producers located in counties that received a primary or contiguous disaster designation are ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 09/26/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    Remembering: Gus Schumacher, Food & Farming Hero (1940-2017)

    It is with deep sadness that we share the news that Gus Schumacher, Co-Founder & Founding Board Chair of Wholesome Wave, passed unexpectedly of heart failure on September 24. The good food movement, the agricultural sector, and the world at large has lost one of the most magnificent advocates ever known. Gus leaves an immeasurable legacy: his vision and work improved the lives of untold numbers of farmers and farms of all sizes, and eaters of all incomes. The world is a far better place because of him.

    Gus had farmers markets in his DNA. His great-grandfather, grandfather, and father all farmed in New York City and sold what they grew at city markets. Gus’s dad moved to Massachusetts and became one of the largest parsnip growers in the Commonwealth. Gus himself grew up on a farm in Lexington.

    Gus's passion for food justice was awakened one August afternoon in 1980. As Gus was loading up his brother’s truck at the end of the farmers market in Dorchester, a box of ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 09/19/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    Florida: Commissioner Adam Putnam, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and Other Officials Survey Damage to Florida Agriculture

    Yesterday, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Senator Marco Rubio, Congressman Tom Rooney and Congressman Mario Díaz-Balart surveyed agricultural damage from Hurricane Irma and met with affected farmers in Clewiston, Fla. 

    Image: Sen. Marco Rubio, Secretary Sonny Perdue, Commissioner Adam Putnam, Congressman Tom Rooney prior to tour of agricultural damage.

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 09/19/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    Governor Chris Sununu issued the following statement announcing the intended retirement of New Hampshire Department of Agriculture Commissioner Lorraine Merrill.

    "For the past 10 years, Commissioner Merrill has done an outstanding job as Commissioner of Agriculture. Her passion and dedication for New Hampshire farms, farmers and local communities across the State of New Hampshire will be missed. I wish her all the best in her future endeavors."

    "It has been a real privilege to serve the people of New Hampshire as Commissioner of Agriculture," said Lorraine Merrill. "These 10 years have brought challenges, but also opportunities-and renewed awareness of the importance of local farms and foods for our communities and our state. I will especially miss the dedicated, hard-working team of professionals I have had the honor of serving with at the Department of Agriculture."

    "As Chairman of the Agriculture Advisory Board, I have appreciated ...

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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 09/19/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

    OFRF is pleased to release our Request for Proposals (RFP) for 2018 research grants. Applicants residing in Canada, Mexico, and the United States are eligible to apply. In particular, OFRF encourages farmers, ranchers, graduate students, early career researchers, veterans, and Extension personnel to consider applying for funding. The deadline for proposals is December 15, 2017. OFRF will notify applicants about funding decisions in spring 2018.
     
    We selected our priority areas for the RFP based on direct feedback from farmers and ranchers across the U.S. These priorities reflect the top areas where investment in research will make a real difference in helping organic farmers and ranchers be successful. 

    Research priorities include are not limited to:

    1. Soil health. Topics of particular interest include nutrient balancing, crop rotations, and fertility management focused on reducing environmental impacts.
    2. Innovative weed control. Topics of particular ...
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  • Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 09/19/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp
    Significant Women in Oklahoma Agriculture Highlight: Anita Van der Laan

    Growing up in the Holland province Fryslan, Anita Van der Laan never imagined she would one day have an 8,000 head dairy in Oklahoma.

    Van der Laan’s love for dairy began at a very young age on her family’s 90-head Holstein dairy back in Holland. She is a 5th generation dairy farmer, with farmers on both sides of her family.

    A defining moment in Van der Laan’s life occurred when she was graduating high school. Because she was a woman, the family dairy went to her brother, and her father told her it was time for her to find somewhere else to work.

    “It really hurt,” Van der Laan recalled. “It still hurts 30 years later. But it made me want to encourage other women to go into the dairy industry.”

    Van der Laan made the decision to move to the United States and start dairying here. Her life took another twist when she attended a Thanksgiving dinner in Texas with neighboring dairy farmers. A young man named Pieter Van der Laan had a birthday on ...

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