H.R.1238 SIgned – Securing our Agriculture and Food Act

June 30, 2017,  THE WHITE HOUSE – President Donald J. Trump signed into law H.R, 1238 Securing our Agriculture and Food Act.

In General—Title V of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 311 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

“SEC. 528. COORDINATION OF DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY EFFORTS RELATED TO FOOD, AGRICULTURE, AND VETERINARY DEFENSE AGAINST TERRORISM.”

Program Required—The Secretary of Homeland Security, acting through the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs, shall carry out a program to coordinate the Department’s efforts related to defending the food, agriculture, and veterinary systems of the United States against terrorism and other high-consequence events that pose a high risk to homeland security…”The purpose of H.R. 1238 is to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to make the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Health Affairs responsible for coordinating the efforts of the Department of Homeland Security related to food, agriculture, and veterinary defense against terrorism.

The purpose of H.R. 1238 is to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to make the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Health Affairs responsible for coordinating the efforts of the Department of Homeland Security related to food, agriculture, and veterinary defense against terrorism.

Background and Need for Legislation 

Agriculture is critical to public health and the Nation’s economy. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the food and agriculture sector annually produces $300 billion in food and other products and is responsible for an estimated one out of every 12 U.S. jobs. Agriculture directly or indirectly supports 16 million jobs. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), “agricultural exports surpassed $152 billion in Fiscal Year 2014, and have climbed more than 58% in value since 2009, totaling $771.7 billion over the past 5 years.”  An intentional attack on, or natural disruption of, our agriculture or food production systems “can present a serious threat to the national economy and human health and can halt or slow trade.”

Important Census Of Ag Deadline Coming Up Friday

Producers have until the last day of June to sign up to be counted in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Register at www.agcensus@usda.gov. Rod Bain and Lance Honig of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.
USDA Preparing To Release Grain Stocks Report.  This Friday, USDA will give markets an idea of the size of U.S. grain stocks and how fast those stocks of last season’s crop are being depleted. Gary Crawford and Joe Parsons.

EPA Officially Begins Process To Repeal Waters of the U.S. Rule

EPA is beginning the official process to repeal the Waters of the U.S. rule (WOTUS).  Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt telling a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee about the confusion generated by the 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule.

Soliciting Applications for USDA Ag Trade Mission to Brazil

Mark Slupek, Deputy Administrator for the Office of Trade Programs, discusses USDA’s next Agricultural Trade Mission set for Brazil, in September.  Deadline for receipt of application is July 12th.
U.S. ban on Brazilian Beef not likely to affect U.S. markets or prices.  What effect, if any, will the U.S. ban on Brazilian beef have on U.S. beef and cattle markets? Gary Crawford and Shayle Shagam.

Risk Management Education And Training For Producers

Producers nationwide are learning about the multiple strategies and programs connected to risk management through USDA sponsored training and education.  Rod Bain. Heather Manzano of USDA’s Risk Management Agency. Jim Slama of Family Farmed. Jim McGreevy of the Dry Pea and Lentil Council.

Perdue: USDA Halting Import of Fresh Brazilian Beef

June 22, 2017, Washington, DC– U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the suspension of all imports of fresh beef from Brazil because of recurring concerns about the safety of the products intended for the American market.  The suspension of shipments will remain in place until the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture takes corrective action which the USDA finds satisfactory.
Since March, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has been inspecting 100 percent of all meat products arriving in the United States from Brazil.  FSIS has refused entry to 11 percent of Brazilian fresh beef products.   That figure is substantially higher than the rejection rate of one percent of shipments from the rest of the world.  Since implementation of the increased inspection, FSIS has refused entry to 106 lots (approximately 1.9 million pounds) of Brazilian beef products due to public health concerns, sanitary conditions, and animal health issues. It is important to note that none of the rejected lots made it into the U.S. market.
The Brazilian government had pledged to address those concerns, including by self-suspending five facilities from shipping beef to the United States.  Today’s action to suspend all fresh beef shipments from Brazil supersedes the self-suspension.Secretary Perdue issued the following statement:“Ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply is one of our critical missions, and it’s one we undertake with great seriousness.  Although international trade is an important part of what we do at USDA, and Brazil has long been one of our partners, my first priority is to protect American consumers. That’s what we’ve done by halting the import of Brazilian fresh beef.  I commend the work of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service for painstakingly safeguarding the food we serve our families.”

Tropical Storm Bearing Down on Gulf Coast

Tropical Storm Cindy is bearing down on the Gulf Coast. Brad Rippey, USDA meteorologist, talks about the rain and flooding potential of tropical storm Cindy from now into the weekend.  The Midwest will get moisture from the combination of Tropical Storm Cindy and another cold front, but there will be nothing for the dry Northern Plains.