Tag Archives: USDA

WASHINGTON– The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended the deadline to September 27 for dairy producers to enroll in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program for 2019. The deadline had been September 20.

Authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill and available through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), the program offers reasonably priced protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

“More than 21,200 dairy operations have already signed up for DMC, but we’re providing an additional week to help ensure interested producers have time to come into the office,” said Bill Northey, USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “With smaller margins and increased feed costs, DMC has resulted in almost $230 million in payments disbursed. I know that some farmers may still be cautious given their experiences with former dairy support programs, but producers who have not signed up yet should come into a local office to learn how much money the program can put into their pockets.”

Almost half of the producers who have signed up so far are taking advantage of the 25 percent premium discount by locking in for five years of margin protection coverage. FSA has launched a new web visualization of the DMC data, which is available here.

Margin payments have triggered for each month from January through July. Dairy producers who elect higher coverage levels could be eligible for payments for all seven months. Under certain levels, the amount paid to dairy farmers will exceed the cost of the premium.

For example, a dairy operation that chooses to enroll for 2019 with an established production history of 3 million pounds (30,000 cwt.) and elects the $9.50 coverage level on 95 percent of production will pay $4,275 in total premium payments for all of 2019 and receive $15,437.50 in DMC payments for all margin payments announced to date. Additional payments will be made if calculated margins remain below the $9.50/cwt. level for any remaining months of 2019.

“My message to those dairy producers who are hurting out there: Don’t leave this kind of financial assistance on the table,” said Northey, who announced the deadline extension today as part of a hearing in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture. “Producers across the country have told us that DMC is a great risk management tool that works well, and it can work for you, too.”

More Information

On December 20, 2018, President Trump signed into law the 2018 Farm Bill, which provides support, certainty and stability to our nation’s farmers, ranchers and land stewards by enhancing farm support programs, improving crop insurance, maintaining disaster programs and promoting and supporting voluntary conservation.

For more information, visit farmers.gov DMC webpage or contact your local USDA service center. To locate your local FSA office, visit farmers.gov/service-locator.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – member of U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies – today applauded the Senate Appropriations Committee’s approval of the FY2020 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. Included in this legislation is language from Sen. Moran that fully-funds the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan and provides the necessary resources for the USDA’s planned relocation of the Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to Kansas City.

“From farmers and ranchers to researchers and veterinarians, this appropriations bill includes a number of measures to support agriculture across our state during an extremely tough time for the ag community,” said Sen. Moran. “I’m proud to have many Kansas priorities included in this legislation on issues relating to NBAF, USDA’s relocation of agencies to Kansas City, rural broadband and veterans in agriculture. I appreciate the Senate coming together in a bipartisan fashion to show our care, appreciation and support for our nation’s producers and all those who support this noble work.”

This appropriations bill supports NBAF, the USDA’s relocation of ERS and NIFA, 2018 Farm Bill implementation, rural broadband deployment, agricultural research, conservation programs and food and drug safety. It also creates incentives for military veterans to enter careers in agriculture.

Included in this legislation are several Sen. Moran-supported provisions:

NBAF – Champions the completion of and fully-funds the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan and supports the workforce needs of this state-of-the-art facility with the inclusion of $3 million for workforce development, training and education.

Relocation of ERS & NIFA – Provides the necessary resources for USDA’s planned relocation of the ERS and NIFA to the Kansas City region, a move that was announced in June.

Agricultural Research – Increases investments in key agricultural research priorities important to Kansas farmers and ranchers, including research focused on wheat, sorghum and alfalfa.

Farmer Mental Health – Includes funds for the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network to provide grants to extension services and nonprofit organizations that offer mental health and stress assistance programs to farmers, ranchers and others involved in agriculture.

 

Rural Broadband – Continues investments in broadband to support deployment of this critical digital infrastructure across rural and underserved areas. Includes measures to ensure the coordination between the Federal Communications Commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in their work to expand broadband and prevent overbuilding. This bill also requires USDA to review the administration of its new pilot ReConnect broadband loan and grant program to ensure these significant federal investments are maximized and put to use in rural communities that need it most.

International Food Assistance – Maintains the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, erected by former U.S. Senators Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and George McGovern (D-S.D.). This legislation also prioritizes Food for Peace initiatives which support the delivery of American-grown food to foreign countries experiencing chronic hunger crises.

Veterans in Agriculture – Includes $5 million for a grant program established by Sen. Moran to help veterans transition into farming, ranching and other careers in agriculture.

 

WASHINGTON, District of Columbia–The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released 2017 Census of Agriculture data tabulated by zip code. The zip code tabulations are available through Quick Stats, NASS’ online data query tool.

 

“Used by producers, community leaders, researchers, and many others in support of agriculture, the zip code tabulation provides yet another entry point to the vast amount of Census data,” said Agricultural Statistics Board Chair Joseph Parsons.

 

Data summaries are also available at the national, state, county, congressional district, watershed, and American Indian reservation level at www.nass.usda.gov/AgCensus. Still to be released are the Race, Ethnicity, and Gender Profiles on October 1.

 

Other products to expect this summer and fall include state-specific Census blogs showcased on www.usda.gov and additional Census Highlights publications found on the NASS website. Notifications of when these products are available are announced @USDA__NASS on Twitter. In addition to these products, special tabulations of data may be requested on the NASS website, if needed.

 

Already preparing for the 2022 Census of Agriculture, NASS is asking for content change suggestions and for new producers who did not receive a 2017 Census of Agriculture form last year to sign up to be counted in future censuses and surveys. Both forms can be found at www.nass.usda.gov.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a final rule to modernize swine slaughter inspection and bring it into the 21st century. For the first time in more than five decades, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is modernizing inspection at market hog slaughter establishments with a goal of protecting public health while allowing for food safety innovations.
“This regulatory change allows us to ensure food safety while eliminating outdated rules and allowing for companies to innovate,” Secretary Sonny Perdue said. “The final rule is the culmination of a science-based and data-driven rule making process which builds on the food safety improvements made in 1997, when USDA introduced a system of preventive controls for industry. With this rule, FSIS will finally begin full implementation of that program in swine establishments.”
Background:
The final rule has new requirements for microbial testing that apply to all swine slaughterhouses to demonstrate that they are controlling for pathogens throughout the slaughter system. Additionally, FSIS is amending its meat inspection regulations to establish a new inspection system for market hog establishments called the New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS).
In the final rule, FSIS amends the regulations to require all swine slaughter establishments to develop written sanitary dressing plans and implement microbial sampling to monitor process control for enteric pathogens that can cause foodborne illness. The final rule also allows market hog establishments to choose if they will operate under NSIS or continue to operate under traditional inspection.
FSIS will continue to conduct 100% inspection of animals before slaughter and 100% carcass-by-carcass inspection, as mandated by Congress. FSIS inspectors will also retain the authority to stop or slow the line as necessary to ensure that food safety and inspection are achieved. Under the NSIS, FSIS offline inspectors will conduct more food safety and humane handling verification tasks to protect the food supply and animal welfare.
To view the final rule, visit the FSIS website at: go.usa.gov/xVPVK

WASHINGTON– Hy-Vee Fresh Commissary, an Ankeny, Iowa establishment, is recalling approximately 6,233 pounds of ready-to-eat (RTE) beef and chicken products due to misbranding and undeclared allergens, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. The products contain milk, a known allergen, which is not declared on the product label.

The RTE beef and chicken products were produced on Sept. 7-8, 2019. The following products are subject to recall: [View labels (PDF only)]

  • 20-oz. plastic packages of “HyVee. mealtime MONGOLIAN-STYLE BEEF” bearing lot code 19250 with a Best If Used By date of 09/14/19 and lot code 19251 with a Best If Used By date of 09/15/19.
  • 20-oz. plastic packages of “HyVee. mealtime BEEF WITH BROCCOLI” bearing lot code 19250 with a Best If Used By date of 09/14/19 and lot code 19251 with a Best If Used By date of 09/15/19.
  • 20-oz. plastic packages of “HyVee. mealtime CASHEW CHICKEN” bearing lot code 19250 with a Best If Used By date of 09/14/19 and lot code 19251 with a Best If Used By date of 09/15/19.
  • 20-oz. plastic packages of “HyVee. mealtime SWEET ORANGE CHICKEN” bearing lot code 19250 with a Best If Used By date of 09/14/19 and lot code 19251 with a Best If Used By date of 09/15/19.
  • 20-oz. plastic packages of “HyVee. mealtime GENERAL CHICKEN” bearing lot code 19250 with a Best If Used By date of 09/14/19 and lot code 19251 with Best If Used By date of 09/15/19.
  • 20-oz. plastic packages of “HyVee. mealtime SESAME CHICKEN” bearing lot code 19250 with a Best If Used By date of 09/14/19 and lot code 19251 with Best If Used By date of 09/15/19.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 51558” or “P-51558” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail locations in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

The problem was discovered during FSIS in-plant verification activities.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.

FSIS is concerned that some product may be stored in consumers’ refrigerators or freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify that recalling firms are notifying their customers of the recall and that actions are being taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution lists will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.

Consumers with questions can contact Hy-Vee Customer Care Representatives at (800) 722-4098. Media with questions about the recall can contact Tina Potthoff, senior vice president of communications, Hy-Vee Fresh Commissary, at (515) 975-9211.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that more than $3 billion is available for disaster relief for agricultural producers, including Nebraska ag producers affected by flooding, through the agency’s Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+):

“Nebraskans in agriculture were hit hard by the severe weather this year, which is why I worked to add our state to this spring’s disaster relief bill. Starting Wednesday, September 11th, ag producers facing losses because of the March storm can apply for assistance through USDA’s WHIP+ program. With access to this much-needed relief, our families can continue to make progress as they rebuild and recover.”

 

More information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

WHIP+ is available for eligible producers who have suffered losses of certain crops, trees, bushes, or vines in counties with a Presidential Emergency Disaster Declaration or a Secretarial Disaster Designation (primary counties only). Disaster losses must have been a result of hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, typhoons, volcanic activity, snowstorms, or wildfires that occurred in 2018 or 2019.

Nebraska producers can apply to receive up to $125,000 for losses related to flooding. Some producers could receive a higher payment—up to $250,000 or $500,000—if ¾ or more of their income is derived from farming or another agriculture-based business.

Click here to read more about WHIP+ eligibility.

LINCOLN, NEB. – “Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) would like to thank United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue for his recent announcement of a Packers and Stockyards investigation to examine beef pricing margins following the fire and subsequent shutdown of the beef processing facility in Holcomb, Kansas. USDA’s efforts to fully investigate the situation is a positive development in this unfortunate situation,” NEFB president Steve Nelson said.

NEFB sent a letter Aug. 22 to USDA Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach urging USDA to fully “investigate monitor and address concerns steaming from the fire.” NEFB asked the agency to shift additional USDA regulatory staff to other plants as needed and to utilize the Packers and Stockyards Division to monitor any unfair, unjustly discriminatory, or deceptive practice in the procurement of livestock

“We are grateful USDA is doing their due diligence in opening this investigation. NEFB would strongly encourage USDA to prosecute any anti-competitive activities if they are found.”

(Washington, D.C. August 28, 2019) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement regarding the beef processing facility in Holcomb, Kan.:

“As part of our continued efforts to monitor the impact of the fire at the beef processing facility in Holcomb, Kan., I have directed USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division to launch an investigation into recent beef pricing margins to determine if there is any evidence of price manipulation, collusion, restrictions of competition or other unfair practices. If any unfair practices are detected, we will take quick enforcement action. USDA remains in close communication with plant management and other stakeholders to understand the fire’s impact to industry.

I have spent this summer visiting with cattle ranchers across the country, and I know this is a difficult time for the industry as a whole. USDA is committed to ensuring support is available to ranchers who work hard to the feed the United States and the world.”

 Nebraska Farm Bureau is urging the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to use the full authorities granted to the agency to monitor and address concerns stemming from the shutdown of a Holcomb, Kansas beef packing facility following a recent fire. The temporary closing of the plant, which accounted for five percent of the daily U.S. cattle slaughter, has led to considerable consternation for both cattle producers and cattle markets alike.

In an Aug. 22 letter to USDA Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach, Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson asked USDA to address a pair of specific issues related to the incident. The first being to help address the considerable shift in cattle slaughter to other plants by USDA shifting additional regulatory staff to those facilities.

“We ask USDA to provide all of the needed grading and inspection staff that will be required to address these needs as quickly as possible,” wrote Nelson in the letter.

In addition to keeping beef processing moving forward, Nebraska Farm Bureau also urged USDA to keep a close eye on cattle markets.

“Given the situation in Kansas and the resulting impacts it has had on cattle prices, we hope USDA and the Packers and Stockyards Division will actively investigate the recent movements in cattle markets. We also hope any anti-competitive activities will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” wrote Nelson.

The Packers and Stockyards Act makes it unlawful for any packer to engage in or use any unfair, unjustly discriminatory, or deceptive practices or devices as they procure livestock.

“While we certainly understand rules and regulations place restrictions on what assistance can be provided, we hope USDA will use all of its authority to ensure operations run smoothly and beef producers are treated fairly,” wrote Nelson. “We thank you and your team for your time and assistance through this difficult situation and for everything you do for Nebraska farm and ranch families.”

Farmers are seeing payments from the first round of the latest trade aid in the mailbox. Farm Service Agency director Richard Fordyce says the first payments are being mailed out now, and farmers are reporting receiving the checks.

Round one of the three potential payments is 50 percent of the overall amount farmers may receive. USDA expects up to $14.5 billion of payments will be sent to farmers, pending on the trade negotiation progress. Another 25 percent of the total would go out later this fall, if the Department of Agriculture deems the payments necessary. The final round, if needed, is planned for some time around January.

The payments are meant to offset the losses stemmed from the Trump trade agenda and trade war with China. Payments range from $15 to $150 per acre, depending on location. Payments are also available for dairy and hog producers, under certain reporting parameters.

This is the second time the Trump administration has used the Market Facilitation Program since the trade war with China began.