|Sweeping Food Safety Bill Passed|
The House passed a sweeping food safety bill (H.R. 2749) by a 283‑142 vote one day after the bill narrowly fell short of the two-thirds needed to pass under suspension of the rules -- an expedited procedure that limits debate and bars amendments.
Within hours of the bill’s failure under suspension, the Rules Committee approved a closed rule for the bill that allowed it to return to the floor so it could pass by simple majority.
The legislation was motivated by several high-profile recalls in recent years of tainted food products, including beef, spinach, tomatoes and peanut butter. The bill’s sponsor, Energy and Commerce member Dingell (D-MI), said 76 million people in the
Agricultural groups were concerned that the bill would give too much authority to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate farm activities and Agriculture Committee members claimed that the measure should have been referred to their committee.
Agriculture Chairman Peterson (D-MN), however, negotiated changes in the bill which included on-farm exemptions for livestock, poultry and grain (including cottonseed), which will continue to be regulated by USDA, and exemptions for farms from most of the bill’s record-keeping and traceability requirements. However, the Committee’s Republicans, led by ranking member Lucas (R-OK), said these changes did not go far enough and would drive up consumers’ food costs and force businesses overseas.
The bill would require the FDA to create a system for tracing food along the food chain so that recalls can be implemented more quickly. It also would allow the FDA, for the first time, to impose civil and criminal penalties and to implement mandatory food quarantines.
Food quarantines are currently voluntary. Under this legislation, a quarantine could be ordered in a specific geographic region only if there is “credible evidence or information that an article of food presents a threat of serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals.” The FDA could prohibit or restrict the movement of contaminated food or vehicles that are being used to transport such food within the geographic area. Additionally, the bill would increase the frequency of inspections at certain food facilities, mandating inspections ranging from every six months to every five years, depending on the level of risk at the facility.
Increased inspections will be funded by requiring food facilities to register with the FDA and pay a registration fee. Farms, grocery stores and restaurants would be exempt from these requirements. Annual fees would be set at $500 per facility and adjusted each year for inflation. Fees would be capped at $175,000 for companies owning multiple facilities.The bill would include gins and cottonseed crushers under its regulations. The NCC will continue to work with the Farm Bureau, commodity groups, other oilseed processors and the grain trade to preserve the progress made and address the concerns of affected cotton industry processors as the bill goes to the Senate.
|CSP Interim Rule Issued|
USDA announced the Interim Final Rule for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
CSP was overhauled in the ’08 farm law and this rule seeks to implement those changes mandated by Congress. The ’08 law provided $1.1 million in new funding for CSP with a goal of enrolling nearly 13 million acres per year. In addition, the law restructured the program to provide conservation stewardship payments that encourage producers to implement additional conservation practices, and it emphasizes attainment of new conservation benefits.
The revamped CSP was designed by Congress to be a nationwide program open to all eligible producers.
NCC will review the rule’s details and prepare comments. Any individual or organization wishing to submit comments on the rule must do so on or before Sept. 28, ’09.
|Cottonseed Insurance Pilot Approved|
The Federal Crop Insurance Corp. Board has approved a new four-year cottonseed insurance product that insures against cottonseed losses to producers beginning in ’10.
The product will be available as an optional insurance endorsement for producers who purchase a qualifying buy-up policy on cotton lint. The product will require no additional record-keeping and will utilize the same coverage level, premium rates and premium subsidies as the underlying cotton lint policy.
The endorsement will not be available for growers who purchase GRIP, CAT or GRP cotton policies. The Risk Management Agency (RMA) will be providing more information in the near future.
This product was developed at the urging and financial support of
|DCP, ACRE Signup Deadline Near|
Producers are reminded that Aug. 14, ’09 is the last day to sign-up for the ’09 direct and counter-cyclical commodity programs (DCP) and for the
For more information about
|Suit Target Includes Endosulfan|
The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) notified EPA of its intent to file suit against the agency for failing to consider impacts to the polar bear and its Arctic habitat from “toxic contamination” resulting from pesticide use in the
According to the CBD, pesticides approved by EPA for use in the
“The poisoning of the
The 60-day notice of intent to sue is a legally required precursor before a lawsuit can be filed under the Endangered Species Act to compel the EPA to comply with the law.
While this action marks the first legal challenge to pesticide registrations due to their impacts on the
|Sales Weak, Shipments Steady|
Net export sales for the week ending July 23 were 48,200 bales (480-lb). This brings total ’08-09 sales to approximately 14.3 million bales. Total sales at the same point in the ’07-08 marketing year were approximately 15.6 million bales.
Total new crop (’09-10) sales are 1.2 million bales.
Accounting for 29% of total
Shipments were 229,500 bales, bringing total exports to date to 12.9 million bales, compared with the 13.2 million bales at the comparable point in the ’07-08 marketing year.
|Third ’09 PIE Tour In California|
Southeastern cotton producers will travel to
On Aug. 3, the group will visit the Bayer CropScience research facility in
Participants include: Virginia – Steele Byrum, Smithfield; North Carolina – Tim Phelps, Gaston; and Pat Simmons, Fairfield; South Carolina – Kayla Player and Pete Player, III, Bishopville; Georgia – James Clark, Surrency; Matt Coley and James Warbington, III, Vienna; Hugh Dollar, III, Bainbridge; Aaron Griner, Alapaha; and Justin, Jones, Smithville; and Alabama – Kevin Holland, Bay Minette; and Jonathan Spruell, Mount Hope.
Sponsored by Bayer CropScience through a grant to The Cotton Foundation, the PIE helps
|Prices Effective July 31-Aug. 6, '09|