Entries tagged with: Usda

Ag-tech business incubator awarded $55,000

USDA has signed a grant agreement to provide the Great Lakes Ag-Tech Business Incubator (GLATBI) with $55,000 to enhance their marketing, outreach, and training efforts. The GLATBI, located in Ottawa County, Michigan, serves entrepreneurs, farmers, and existing businesses who have an ag-technology idea or invention they would like to develop, either into a business or to license to other entities. Ottawa County ranks third in the state in total farm receipts, according to GLATBI. The USDA funding, which…  » Read more

USDA awards $36.5 million for research, Extension

USDA has issued 19 grants totaling $36.5 million for research and extension to support American farmers growing fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops including floriculture. The grants are funded through the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Specialty Crop Research Initiative, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. The funded projects address research and extension needs that span the entire spectrum of specialty crops production from researching plant genetics to…  » Read more

$26 million awarded for farmworker housing

USDA has awarded $26 million to help provide housing for farmworkers in nine rental communities in four states. The funding will support 439 rental units in California, Florida, Kansas and Texas. The funding is provided through the Farm Labor Housing Loan and Grant program. It will help qualified organizations develop housing for farmworkers, make housing repairs and provide household furnishings. Funding of each affordable rental community is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan or…  » Read more

2016 Potato stocks drop from 2015 total

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reports that potato stocks held in storage by 13 major potato states on June 1, 2016, were down 7 percent compared to stocks in storage on June 1, 2015. Potatoes in storage for 2016 were 52.2 million cwt. Potatoes in storage for 2015 were 56.5 million cwt. Potatoes in storage accounted for 13 percent of the fall storage states’ 2015 production. The 2016 drop in potato stocks represents the…  » Read more

More than $14.5 million for plant research

USDA has awarded more than $14.5 million in grants to support research into plant health, production and resilience. These grants were made through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Foundational program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and administered by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The grants were awarded through AFRI's Plant Health and Production and Plant Products (PHPPP) area, which supports basic and applied research in the following areas: understanding plant-associated microorganisms and…  » Read more

USDA extends recording farm structure deadline

The USDA is providing farms a one-time, 30-day extension to the June 1 deadline for recording farm organization structures related to Actively Engaged in Farming determinations. This date is used to determine the level of interest an individual holds in a legal entity for the applicable program year. The extension gives non-family farming operations more time to restructure. Farming operations will now have until July 1 to complete their restructuring or finalize any operational change. The extension was issued…  » Read more

$130 million available for foundational ag research

The USDA is making $130 million in funding available for research, education, and extension projects to support sustainable, productive and economically viable plant and animal production systems, including certified organic production. This funding is available through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Foundational Program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and administered by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). This funding is offered through the AFRI Foundational Program, which funds projects that continue building a foundation…  » Read more

Antimicrobial resistance research funding available

The USDA is making $6 million available to fund research to address antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This funding is available through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, and administered by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Applications must address one or more of the following: Develop novel systems approaches to investigate the ecology of microbial resistance microbes and gene reservoirs in the environment in animals, in crops, in food products, or in farm-raised aquaculture…  » Read more

Loans available for portable farm storage

USDA will provide a new financing option to help farmers purchase portable storage and handling equipment. Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini and Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Administrator Elanor Starmer announced changes to the Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program during a local and regional food roundtable in Columbus, Ohio. The loans, which now include a smaller microloan option with lower down payments, are designed to help producers, including new, small and mid-sized producers, grow their businesses and markets, the agency…  » Read more

USDA funds assist farmers with MAEAP verification

USDSA is making financial assistance available to Michigan farmers seeking to have their operations environmentally verified through the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP). MAEAP is a voluntary program created in Michigan that allows producers to have their operations environmentally verified through any of four systems including farmstead, cropping, livestock and forest. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is targeting financial assistance to producers for implementing conservation practices needed to complete their MAEAP verification. Farmers and private forest owners…  » Read more

$4M in grants available for IPM research

The USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has made $4 million available to support research and extension efforts to mitigate pest issues and increase crop protection practices for the agricultural community. This funding is made through the Crop Protection and Pest Management (CPPM) Program, administered by NIFA. Funding can be used to support projects that will address pest management efforts for both conventional and organic production systems. Funded projects may also develop reduced-risk methods for pest-free homes, schools, parks…  » Read more

APHIS conducting supplemental EA for PCN in eastern Idaho

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has posted a supplemental environmental assessment (EA) for pale cyst nematode (PCN) in Bingham and Bonneville Counties in eastern Idaho. The EA is open for public comments through May 28. According to APHIS, “the purpose of this supplemental EA is to consider expansion of the PCN eradication program to all potato growing areas in Bingham and Bonneville Counties should PCN be found in new areas, and to…  » Read more

USDA funds food safety programs for small farms

USDA has made $4.7 million available in grants for food safety education, training, and technical assistance projects that address the needs of owners and operators of small to mid-sized farms, beginning farmers, socially-disadvantaged farmers, small processors, small fresh fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers, food hubs, farmers’ markets, and others.  The grants, offered through the Food Safety Outreach Program and administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), are designed to help these stakeholders comply with new…  » Read more

Grant expands parasitic roundworms research

NH Agricultural Experiment Station researcher Rick Cote at the University of New Hampshire has received a USDA grant to expand his research on parasitic nematodes, or roundworms, which cause approximately $100 billion in annual global crop damage. Researchers are hopeful that one day their work will lead to the development of next generation nematicides, or chemical pesticides that will provide farmers with a new way to safely manage these agricultural pests. Five years ago, the NH Agricultural Experiment…  » Read more
Strength in Numbers

Strength in Numbers

A shroud of scaffolding covers the Capitol Dome these days, as one of the world’s most iconic symbols of democracy undergoes a $60 million renovation. Under the towering presence of the Capitol, advocates for the potato industry came to Washington, D.C., for the National Potato Council’s (NPC) 2016 Potato D.C. Fly-In.  More than 130 people, including 22 from the Potato Industry Leadership Institute, flew or drove to the nation’s capital to attend the Fly-In, from…  » Read more

USDA launches GroupGAP program

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced the official launch of GroupGAP, a new certification program that helps small and mid-sized growers and cooperatives meet retailers' on-farm food safety requirements. "We know that GAP certification can sometimes be cost-prohibitive for smaller farmers," said AMS Administrator Elanor Starmer. "GroupGAP allows these farmers to demonstrate compliance with strong food safety standards and share the cost of certification across a group of growers. That means greater market access for farmers, more…  » Read more

USDA to fund nanotechnology research

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced an investment of more than $5.2 million to support nanotechnology research at 11 universities. The universities will research ways nanotechnology can be used to improve food safety, enhance renewable fuels, increase crop yields, manage agricultural pests, and more. The awards were made through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), a competitive, peer-reviewed grants program for fundamental and applied agricultural sciences. Universities receiving funding include: Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama Connecticut…  » Read more

Idaho PCN lawsuit moves forward

U.S. District Court Judge Edward J. Lodge has denied a request by the USDA to dismiss a lawsuit by eastern Idaho potato growers seeking to end a quarantine on fields following the discovery of the Pale Cyst Nematode (PCN) in Idaho in 2006. The USDA argued that the farmers did not have standing under federal laws to file the lawsuit and the lawsuit wasn’t specific enough. PCN has been detected in an area with a…  » Read more

US-Cuba agriculture sectors agreement announced

While in Cuba, Secretary Vilsack announced that USDA will allow the 22 industry-funded Research and Promotion Programs and 18 Marketing Order organizations to conduct authorized research and information exchange activities with Cuba. These groups, which are responsible for creating bonds with consumers and businesses around the world in support of U.S. agriculture, will be able to engage in cooperative research and information exchanges with Cuba about agricultural productivity, food security and sustainable natural resource management. Secretary Vilsack called the announcement "a…  » Read more

New AMS marketing specialist for Potatoes USA

Hakim Fobia is the new USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) marketing specialist that provides oversight of Potatoes USA.  Fobia previously worked as a communications specialist for AMS. He replaces Patty Petrella as the AMS marketing specialist for Potatoes USA. Petrella served for six years in that position. She has been promoted to the position of deputy director of the AMS Promotion and Economics division.

$62 million in grant funding available to growers

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is making more than $62 million in grant funding available to support specialty crop producers through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP).  SCBGP grants are allocated to U.S. states and territories for projects that help support specialty crop growers, including locally grown fruits and vegetables, through research and other programs to increase demand. Those interested in applying should do so directly through their state departments of agriculture, which administer a competitive…  » Read more

Public-private partnerships crucial in insurance safety net

Farming is in my blood, and I’m proud of that. I grew up on my family’s sheep ranch in northern Utah and managed our raspberry farm before coming to USDA. For the past three years, as administrator for the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA), I’ve sat across the table and listened to producers who, like myself back in Utah, couldn’t find an insurance product for their operation. Natural disasters and unexpected events make agriculture a risky…  » Read more

Ag Secretary Vilsack to travel to Cuba

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will join President Obama when he travels to Cuba later this month, the USDA announced. This historic visit - the first by a sitting U.S. President in nearly 90 years - is another demonstration of the President's commitment to chart a new course for U.S.-Cuban relations and connect U.S. and Cuban citizens through expanded travel, commerce, and access to information. This will be Secretary Vilsack's second trip to Cuba. In November…  » Read more

USDA releases Farm Income forecast for 2016

The latest USDA forecast indicates specialty crops net cash income is expected to fall by 5 percent in 2016. USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) recently released its Farm Income forecast for 2016.  Net cash income and net farm income (which includes the value and costs of items like depreciation, home consumption of farm goods, and unsold inventory) are both expected to fall slightly compared to 2015, but by much less than last year. Net cash income is…  » Read more

USDA, US Chamber of Commerce promote agriculture jobs to military veterans

The USDA announced a joint agreement with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to increase employment opportunities in the agricultural sector for military veterans and their spouses. USDA Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Deputy Under Secretary Lanon Baccam signed the agreement along with Eric Eversole, vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Eversole, a commander in the Navy Reserve, also serves as the foundation's president of Hiring Our Heroes. Baccam, a U.S. Army and Iowa National Guard veteran who…  » Read more

USDA allocates $58.25 million to protect agriculture from pests

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has allocated $58.25 million from Section 10007 of the 2014 Farm Bill. This money will support 434 projects that prevent the introduction or spread of plant pests and diseases that threaten U.S. agriculture and the environment and ensure the availability of a healthy supply of clean plant stock in the United States. Funding will be provided to 50 States, plus Guam and Puerto Rico,…  » Read more

PVY workshops June 20-23

Potato virus detection training workshops will be held in four different sites from June 20-23.  The workshops will cover field identification of PVY (strains O, N-Wi and NTN), including visual identification of foliar symptoms on 40 major cultivars. The training will include samples of different tuber symptoms from PVY, PMTV and TRV. Workshops will also discuss and demonstrate new diagnostic assays for viruses and soilborne vectors of some of the viruses. University and USDA experts…  » Read more

USDA grants $30.1 million for food safety research

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the award of $30.1 million in competitive grants to fund 80 research projects to improve food safety, reduce antibiotic resistance in food, and increase the resilience of plants in the face of climate change, according to a news release. The grants are made possible through USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). Dr. John P. Holdren, President Obama’s science and technology advisor and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, joined Secretary…  » Read more

New USDA bee genebank will preserve genetic diversity

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is organizing a national bee genebank as part of the agency's response to ongoing problems facing the country's beekeepers. Average losses of managed honey bee colonies have increased to more than 30 percent per year due to pathogens, pests, parasites, and other pressures including deficient nutrition and sublethal impacts of pesticides. These stresses have threatened the continued business sustainability of commercial beekeepers. The genebank, which will be located in Fort Collins, Colorado,…  » Read more

USDA expands microloans to include farmland purchases

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin offering farm ownership microloans, creating a new financing avenue for farmers to buy and improve property. These microloans will help beginning or underserved farmers, U.S. veterans looking for a career in farming, and those who have small and mid-sized farming operations, the agency said. Since 2013 the microloan program has provided more than 16,800 low-interest loans, totaling over $373 million to producers…  » Read more

Report: pesticide residues do not pose safety concern for food

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has posted data from the 2014 Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary, which confirms that overall pesticide chemical residues found on the foods tested are at levels below the tolerances established by the EPA and do not pose a safety concern. The 2014 PDP Annual Summary shows that over 99 percent of the products sampled through PDP had residues below the EPA tolerances. Residues exceeding the tolerance were detected in 0.36 percent of the samples tested. The PDP…  » Read more

USDA grants $3 million for robotics research

The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced $3 million in grants to advance the use of co-robots that benefit and assist stakeholders in America’s production agriculture field. These three grants are part of the National Robotics Initiative (NRI), a federal research partnership that includes NIFA, the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Department of Defense, and Department of Energy. The goal of the NRI is to accelerate the development and use of robots in the U.S. that…  » Read more

United Fresh, PMA react to USDA Dietary Guidelines

The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services recently released the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The recommendations focus on five overarching guidelines and what foods to consume more or less of. Here are reactions from around the produce industry: United Fresh Produce Association – Tom Stenzel, president and CEO: “The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans strongly recommends that all Americans significantly increase their consumption of vegetables and fruit to improve their health. For the first…  » Read more

HHS, USDA release 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines

HHS and USDA have released the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The 8th edition of the Dietary Guidelines includes five overarching guidelines and suggestions on foods Americans should consume. The guidelines focus on the variety of what people eat and drink and updated guidance on topics such as added sugars, sodium, and cholesterol, and new information on caffeine. The specific recommendations fit into five overarching guidelines in the new edition: Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. Focus…  » Read more

2015 N. American potato production increases

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reports that North American potato growers, United States and Canada, increased production in 2015 by 1.4 percent compared to 2014 production numbers. Production in 2015 totaled 550.4 million cwt., compared to 542.8 million cwt. in 2014. U.S. production increased 0.8 percent, and Canadian production increased 4.2 percent in 2015. For more information, visit the NASS website.

2015 potato production up, according to NASS

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) 2015 crop production report forecast an increase of 4.9 million cwt. in U.S. fall potato production, compared to the 2014 total of 403.7 million cwt. NASS predicts the 2015 fall production total to be 408.6 million cwt. The report indicates a slight yield decline, from 434 cwt. per acre in 2014 to 432 cwt. per acre in 2015. For more information on 2015 crop production, go to the NASS…  » Read more

Syngenta scientist named to USDA Hall of Heroes

Mary-Dell Chilton, a distinguished science fellow at Syngenta, was honored as an inductee into the USDA Hall of Heroes in Washington, D.C. with USDA secretary Tom Vilsack presiding. Established in September 2000, the USDA Hall of Heroes recognizes those that have had a lasting impact on agriculture and related programs. Chilton’s work with plant biotechnology led her to produce the first transgenic plant in 1983 and demonstrated that plant genomes could be altered more precisely…  » Read more

AMS presents GroupGAP webinar

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) specialty crops inspection division will present a webinar on GroupGAP, a new certification option for the Good Agricultural Practices audit program. The webinar will be Thursday, Nov. 12, from 2-3 p.m. EST. The webinar is free, but registration is required and space is limited. To register for the webinar, visit this website. For more information on GroupGAP, visit this AMS website.

APHIS deregulates Simplot’s Generation Two Innate potato

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service  (APHIS) has deregulated J.R. Simplot Company’s second generation Russet Burbank Innate potato. The second generation of Simplot’s Innate potato contains four traits: 1) reduced bruising and black spots; 2) reduced asparagine; 3) resistance to Late Blight; and 4) enhanced cold storage capability. Simplot’s Innate potato varieties are genetically engineered using genes from wild and cultivated potatoes. Simplot is waiting completion of EPA registration and Food and Drug…  » Read more

USDA announces additional 800,000 acres in CRP

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that an additional 800,000 acres of environmentally sensitive land may be enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) under certain wetland and wildlife initiatives. The voluntary CRP allows USDA to contract with agricultural producers for periods between 10 and 15 years. Participants establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species to control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat. In return, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides participants with rental payments…  » Read more

Drought emergency declared in Washington

Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state declared a drought emergency at a press conference on May 15. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) reported that 11 long-term measurement sites were snow-free for the first time since measurements were recorded. The NRCS report for Washington state water supply stated that May 1 SNOTEL readings were 17 percent of normal, which continues to be an all-time low. “We’re really starting to feel the pain from this snowpack…  » Read more

USDA forecasts 2015 spring production down

The USDA crop production report released on May 12, 2015, predicts that spring potato production will decline 11.2 percent compared to 2014 production. The report estimates 2015 spring potato production to be 20.07 million cwt., 2.54 million cwt. less than the 2014 production of 20.61 million cwt. Bruce Huffaker’s North American Potato Market News reports that the 2015 forecast would be the smallest spring potato crop since the USDA started keeping separate spring potato production…  » Read more

Idaho growers file federal lawsuit

A group of Idaho potato growers have filed a federal lawsuit challenging “certain agency actions” governing pale cyst nematodes (PCN) by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho in Boise. The complaint seeks a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief. Among the actions of relief sought is an immediate end to the quarantine…  » Read more

Simplot’s Innate potatoes receive FDA safety clearance

The Food and Drug Administration has completed its evaluation of J. R. Simplot’s genetically engineered Innate variety potatoes and has concluded that the potatoes “are as safe and nutritious as their conventional counterparts” in this press release. Simplot’s Innate varieties of Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet and Atlantic will be available in limited quantities in 2015 in the fresh and fresh-cut markets. A second generation of Innate potatoes are currently under review by the USDA and…  » Read more

USDA announces SCRI funding available

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the availability of more than $66.5 million in funding for research and Extension activities.             The grants will be funded through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) and the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative. Both programs are funded through the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).             SCRI pre-applications are due March 30, 2015 and full applications are due July 2, 2015. For more information see…  » Read more

IOM recommends white potatoes in WIC program

The National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended that the USDA allow white potatoes be an eligible vegetable in the USDA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).             At the request of the USDA the IOM is undertaking a comprehensive review of the food packages used in the WIC program.             In the first of three reports, the IOM committee evaluated the 2009 regulation that excluded white potatoes from…  » Read more

APHIS and PPQ release 2015-2019 plans

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has released its 2015-2019 (PPQ) strategic plan along with its Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) 2015-2019 strategic plan.             Among the APHIS goals is one to “protect plant health by optimizing our (APHIS) oversight of GE organisms.”             To read the APHIS strategic plan visit this website. To read the PPQ strategic plan visit this website.

USDA names members to USPB

The USDA appointed 19 new members to the U.S. Potato Board (USPB) and reappointed 14 members to the USPB for three-year terms beginning March 1, 2015.             New USPB members are: Segundo Diaz, Alamosa, Colorado; Jeremy Arnold, Felt, Idaho; Kent Bitter, Shelley, Idaho; Jeff Harper, Mountain Home, Idaho; Dan Moss, Declo, Idaho; Dirk Parkinson, St. Anthony, Idaho; Kyle Lennard, Howe, Indiana; Jeff Edling, Becker, Minnesota; Gary H. Gray, Clear Lake, Minnesota; Leon J. Hapka, Argyle,…  » Read more

NASS reports increased 2014 production

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) 2014 crop report shows an increase of 2.8 percent in U.S. production of fall potatoes in 2014. Fall production totaled 406,195,000 cwt in 2014, compared to 395,275,000 cwt. in 2013. The national yield per acre for the fall was up in 2014 with 439 cwt., compared to 425 cwt. in 2013.             For more information visit the NASS website.

Simplot’s Innate varieties achieve federal milestones

The first two generations of the J.R. Simplot Company’s genetically engineered (GE) Innate potato varieties achieved individual federal milestones.Generation one received a determination of nonregulated status from the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The APHIS document has been published in the Federal Register on and is available online. The first generation of Simplot’s Innate potatoes includes Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet and Atlantic. The three GE varieties were developed with the following traits:…  » Read more

Burdett joins USPB staff

Amy Burdett has joined the United States Potato Board (USPB) as its marketing operations director.             For the past 16 years Burdett worked at the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Her areas of trade expertise include Asia bilateral and regional affairs, trade policy development and enforcement and global commodity analysis.             Burdett will focus on market access issues, for all potatoes and products. She will oversee the seed potato export program and oversee the application…  » Read more

Mexico reopens zone for U.S. fresh potatoes

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has resumed issuing phytosanitary certificates for the export of U.S. fresh potatoes into Mexico’s 26-kilometer zone bordering the U.S. According to Mark Szymanski,National Potato Council director of public relations, these phytosanitary certificates being issued are based on import requirements from a 2003 agreement. On May 19, 2014, the entire country of Mexico opened beyond the 26-kilometer zone for U.S. fresh potatoes. On June 9 trade was…  » Read more

2014 fall potato acreage increases

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) crop acreage report shows an increase of 13,500 acres of fall potato acres planted nationally compared to the 2013 total. According to NASS, fall acres planted for 2014 totaled 955,400 compared to 941,900 in 2013, an increase of 1.4 percent. However, Bruce Huffaker’s North American Potato Market News reports that NASS may be overcounting acreage in the upper Midwest, Maine and Colorado and undercounting in Idaho, Michigan and…  » Read more

Marrone approved for USDA loan guarantee

            The USDA Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan program approved Marrone Bio Innovations (MBI) for a $10 million loan.             The funds will be used to expand  the MBI manufacturing plant in Bangor, Michigan.

Fresh potato ban in WIC program may be reviewed

The National Potato Council (NPC) reports that the U.S. House and  Senate appropriations committees may consider legislations to lift the current ban on fresh potatoes in the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).             The National Potato Council is asking members of the potato industry to write their representatives and senators to lift the current ban on fresh potatoes.             To send a message to Congress go to this NPC website.

APHIS approves Mexican fresh potatoes for importation

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will allow the importation of fresh potatoes from Mexico into the U.S. effective April 25.             As a condition of entry the potatoes must be in accordance with the following strictures: seed potatoes were certified; packinghouses are registered;  shipments are commercial; and chain of custody is verified.             In addition, the potatoes must be  washed and soil free; inspected internally and externally and certified free of…  » Read more

Public meeting to address CCPR agenda scheduled for April 10

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service in conjunction with the EPA is sponsoring a public meeting to provide information and receive public comments on agenda items and on draft U.S. positions to be discussed at the 46th session of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR), which will be held in Nanjing, China from May 5-10. The public meeting will be held on April 10, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. EDT, at the…  » Read more

USDA NASS census shows growing farm economy

USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service released its preliminary results from the 2012 census of agriculture. The ag census is conducted every five years. The census revealed the value of agricultural products sold in 2012 to be $394.6 billion, an increase of $97.4 billion, or 33 percent, from 2007. Between 2007 and 2012, the per farm average value of sales increased from $137,807 to $187, 093. The $52,235 increase was the largest rise in census history.…  » Read more

Potato stock reports to resume

Following passage of its budget by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will resume publication of the potato stocks reports. The reports had been suspended due to sequestration. NASS will announce dates of publication for the reports when they are set.

NRCS predicts limited water supply for western states in 2014

A limited water supply is predicted west of the Continental Divide, according to the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) National Water and Climate Center data in its first forecast of 2014. “Right now the West Coast is all red,” NRCS hydrologist Tom Perkins said in a USDA press release. “Early indications are it will be very dry in the western part of the West, but wetter as you travel east. There are some exceptions…  » Read more

APHIS reopens public comment period

In April 2013, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) proposed a rule in the Federal Register to restructure regulations governing the importation of plants for planting.             APHIS has reopened the comment period for an additional 30 days for comments on their proposed framework for integrated pest risk management measures.             For more information on the proposed rule or to post a comment visit the APHIS website.             Comments will be accepted…  » Read more

PCN regulated acres in Idaho decrease

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) recently announced that approximately 2,279 acres of Idaho farmland have been deregulated from pale cyst nematode (PCN) regulation. The PCN-regulated acres are found in northern Bingham County and southern Bonneville County. Currently, regulated acres total 10,774, of which 2,300 acres are infested. Visit the APHIS site for more information about PCN.