Under a new proposal, USDA would reorganize and lead in reinvigorating the uniquely American system of public funding for agricultural education, research and Extension.
Called CREATE-21, it would establish an orderly system for funding; add new funding; reorganize USDAs research elements; and create the National Institutes for Food and Agriculture within USDA to guide and direct funds and programs.
Legislation (S. 1094) to carry out these things was introduced into the U.S. Senate in mid-April by Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Robert P. Casey Jr., D-Pa.
CREATE-21 is the acronym for Creating Research, Extension and Teaching Excellence for the 21st Century, and it would change the Research Title in the 2007 U.S. Farm Bill.
With the continued erosion of federal funding over the last two decades, many farmers, educators and researchers wondered whether the United States would sustain its publicly funded agricultural research and development system,
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Virginia Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte introduced a bill March 29 to reform the H-2A temporary agricultural worker program.
H.R. 1792, the Temporary Agricultural Labor Reform Act of 2007, would reform the impractical aspects of the H-2A program that have kept farmers from using it to employ a fully legal workforce.
Goodlatte serves on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law and is now the ranking Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, which he chaired from 2003 until this year.
He introduced a different version of the bill in the last Congress.
This years bill is different in that Mr. Goodlatte proposes to expand the class of eligible H-2A jobs to include, among other things, meat processing jobs, nursery work, and fruit and vegetable packing, said Stephanie Myers, Republican Deputy Chief Counsel to the House Committee on Agriculture.
This will be achieved, in part,
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Beginning in July, any supplier to a USDA food or snack program will be required to pass a Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) audit with a score of 80 percent or above. The audit verifies that growers are adhering to the best practices in FDAs Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.
The first part of the audit is a general questions section, followed by four parts covering more specific areas that apply only if the grower is involved in those operations. They include an overall farm review, questions on field harvest and field packing operations, packinghouse facility and storage and transportation. Documentation of practices is required, and the necessary forms are included in the self-audit materials.
A self-audit is recommended, because its difficult to pass an official audit if the self-audit is not passed.
Some growers are concerned about the future implications
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I had an economics professor in college who would pose every statement as a question.
The supply is less than the demand. Yes or no? he would state in his thick Greek accent.
He would often call on a member of the class to answer his query, and that person would either state the obvious or be forced to ignore the facts and disagree with an expert in the field.
But economic decisions are never as easy as yes or no.
As the cost of fuel rises, many are looking to biofuels, such as the corn-based ethanol, to reduce U.S. dependence on oil. But by doing so, the price of corn has jumped and acreage for other crops has been taken out of production to grow more corn.
Economic theory would say that as more growers produce corn, at some point there will be an oversupply and
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