April 25, 2014
ARKANSAS FORAGE AND GRASSLANDS SPRING TOUR
The Arkansas Forage and Grasslands Spring Tour is scheduled for Friday, May 2. The tour starts at the Pocahontas Livestock Auction at 9a.m. Lunch is provided. For more details on this educational tour, see the attached flier.
MISS ARKANSAS RICE DEADLINE APPROACHING. . . . .The deadline to submit an entry into the 2014 Miss Arkansas Contest is April 30, 2014. The entry form must be completed and returned with two 5x7 black and white photos of the county winner and three typed copies of her recipe by certified mail to Arkansas Rice Council, P.O. Box 786, Stuttgart, AR 72160. A copy of the entry form can be found at the following link: http://www.arfb.com/!userfiles/editor/docs/contests/2014%20Rice%20Promotion%20Program%20Book.pdf. For more information, contact Brandy Carroll.
USDA HIDING BEHIND FAULTY DATA ON ORGANIC CHICKEN
“The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is not scheduled to discuss advocating animal welfare requirements in relation to organic poultry or eggs when the group meets next week to suggest new standards for the Agriculture Department. But that won’t stop the Center for Food Safety (CFS) from making a lot of noise about it,” Pro Agriculture editor Jason Huffman writes this morning.
CFS issued a 28-page white paper this week chastising USDA for ‘stalling poultry animal welfare regulations and hiding behind a faulty economic impact analysis.’ The NOSB meeting is already shaping up to be a vicious fight, with heavy debate expected to center on the acceptance of synthetic products and proposed standards for organic aquaculture. CFS is promising to further add to the tension by announcing its irritation over an issue that also isn’t up for discussion at the NOSB meeting, though the group has promised to raise it there.
FORMER NOSB CHAIRS SPEAK OUT
Three former NOSB chairmen are calling on agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack to intervene in what they say is the “usurpation of NOSB powers” by the department.
In a letter sent to Vilsack, Jim Riddle, Jeff Moyer and Barry Flamm — who led the board in 2005, 2009 and 2012, respectively — say they have “grave concerns” about recent actions by the National Organic Program and its head, Deputy Administrator Miles McEvoy. In particular, they take issue with a September 2013 change to the sun-setting policy for synthetic products approved for use in the organic program, a decision the men say was inappropriately made behind closed doors.
USDA FLOATS ORGANIC POST-HARVEST GUIDE
USDA will release a draft guidance for the handling of certified organic products after they have been harvested and while they are being processed into finished goods. In a notice in the Federal Register set for publication, the department says the pending guidance is intended to pull together all of the relevant post-harvest provisions of the organic standards, which are largely spread out in the document, to make it easier for processers and handlers to comply.
GRAS CHALLENGE COULD RAISE LARGER FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION ISSUES
The challenge by the Center for Food Safety to FDA’s Generally Recognized as Safe notification system for food additives could have larger ramifications for the agency as whole should the court find in favor of activists. In a presentation to the Food and Drug Law Institute’s annual conference, in Washington, D.C., Lewis Grossman, a professor at the American University Washington College of Law, noted that GRAS isn’t the only program to be long operating under a draft regulation and not a final rule. A ruling in favor of CFS, which is claiming the program is unlawful because it has not been finalized despite being in place since 1997, could also have an impact on certain programs governing over-the-counter drugs, sunscreens and topical antiseptics, among others that also have yet to be finalized.
“If I were a judge I would be a little concerned about the implications of telling FDA it cannot act under a proposed rule,” Grossman said.
USDA REQUIRING REPORTING OF THE DEADLY PIG VIRUS
The Agriculture Department announced new steps to slow the spread of a virus that has killed millions of American piglets during the past year. The government said it will require the reporting of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) in order to slow the spread of the disease across the United States. The USDA said while the movement of pigs will still be permitted, it will require the tracking of animal movements, vehicles and other equipment leaving affected premises. Officials also said Friday they will require tracking and reporting for the Swine Delta Coronavirus, another virus affecting several states.
FREE STUDENT LOAN MONEY WAITING FOR VETERINARIANS
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, has announced there is money available in fiscal year 2014 for their Veterinary Medicine Loan Program (VMLRP). Veterinarians eligible must serve in two areas: (1) geographical areas that the USDA secretary determines to have a shortage of veterinarians; and (2) areas of veterinary practice that the secretary determines have a shortage of veterinarians, such as food animal medicine, public health, epidemiology and food safety. Priority should be given to agreements with veterinarians for the practice of food animal medicine in veterinarian shortage situations.
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