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Ag groups, EPA settle CAFO lawsuit on personal data access

A federal district court in Minnesota has approved the dismissal and settlement of a lawsuit that agricultural groups filed to limit the amount of data that the Environmental Protection Agency can release on concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), according to court documents. The National Pork Producers Council and American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) sued in 2013 after the EPA released extensive personal information on more than 100,000 CAFO operators in 29 states and was prepared to release the same on farmers in six other states.

Lawmakers call for beef, pork checkoff reform

Lawmakers proposed twin legislation in the Senate and House of Representative calling for strengthening pork and beef checkoff program prohibitions against engaging in government policy advocacy, conflicts of interest or anticompetitive activities.  Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act in the Senate while Reps. Dave Brat (R-Va.) and Dina Titus (D-Nev.), introduced similar legislation in the House.

Cattle veterinarians asked to issue illegal VFDs ​By Greg Cima

Veterinary associations warned in March that cattle veterinarians were being pressured to issue illegal orders for medicated feeds. The AVMA and American Associ­ation of Bovine Practitioners published a joint statement March 6 on the AVMA@Work blog warning that both organizations had received reports veterinarians had been pressured to issue veterinary feed directives for chlortetracycline-containing feeds in unapproved formulations or for unapproved indications.Dr. K.

Senate votes to allow ISPs to collect personal data without permission

The broadband privacy rules created by the FCC last year and vigorously debated last night are in danger after the Senate voted to repeal them this morning. Among other things, the rules required ISPs to obtain consumers’ permission in order to use certain sensitive data like browsing history that they obtain through their service. Sounds like a bad idea, right? It is. I detailed why in a post last night, and plenty of Senators, including Massachusetts’ Ed Markey, who led the creation of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, vociferously opposed the resolution.

House Passes Agro-terrorism Bill

Iowa Congressman David Young's agro-terrorism preparedness legislation, the Securing our Agriculture and Food Act (H.R.1238), was passed out of the U.S.

Growing markets by focusing on borders

There has been a lot of discussion lately about borders and what to do with them. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs released a paper recently that provides one of the best suggestions I’ve heard yet--invest in making borders more efficient. Farmers of all sizes, from countries around the globe, face high costs and great uncertainty when they choose to export.

Perdue seeks to reassure Congress as Trump eyes budget cuts

The nominee for agriculture secretary, Sonny Perdue, on Thursday sought to reassure farm-state senators fearful about the impact of President Donald Trump’s proposed deep cuts to farm programs, promising to work with Democrats to create jobs in the struggling industry. At his confirmation hearing, the former Georgia governor stressed bipartisanship, reaching out to Democrats who have complained about Trump’s lack of experience in agriculture and his proposed 21 percent cut to the farm budget. Michigan Sen.

NAFTA showdown pits cars against cows

It’s cars versus cows.  The NAFTA showdown between Canada and the United States will pit the interests of the automotive industry and other exporters against protected sectors like dairy, telecommunications, airlines and banks, Carleton University Associate Professor Ian Lee said.“You can bet that those four industries will shamelessly invoke Canadian nationalism to protect their own greed, their own private interests,” Lee said.

More delay for Produce Safety Rule as industry balks over water testing

Water testing standards that are a key part of the produce safety requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) are undergoing a quiet review that could extend the compliance date for the Produce Safety Rule beyond January 2018.  Produce industry leaders learned  in mid-February during a meeting with U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials led by acting FDA Commissioner Stephen Ostroff that they’d be getting the review with the likely delay in compliance.

President's budget recommends deep cuts to rural

USDA's Rural Development, which helps provide water, power, broadband, housing, and small business loans in rural America, gets identified for deep cuts in the president's budget proposal. The proposal, which is just the first salvo in the budget battle, also recommends eliminating agencies like the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority. The proposal says Agriculture’s Rural Development programs would be cut so deeply there would be less need for staff in USDA’s Service Center offices.

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