The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) protects the health and value of American agriculture and our natural resources. According to a Cornell University study released in 2004, invasive pest species not common in the U.S. are causing major environmental damages and economic losses adding up to almost $120 billion per year. An earlier 1997 General Accounting Office report estimated the national cost to taxpayers from invasive species was close to $41 billion annually in lost production, prevention, and control expenses. Read more
Recent OMB Report & Other Factors Indicate U.S. Food Manufacturers May Pick up Tab For FSMA
In February of this year Cansler Consulting foretold of the fiscal challenges ahead at the Food and Drug Administration (click here to read article) in implementing the nation’s new food safety law, The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Late last week the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a congressionally-mandated report outlining potential impacts of budget sequestration on defense and non-defense discretionary programs verifying our analysis. The 400-page document showcases the impacts that budget cuts would have on all areas of government, including the safety of our nation’s food supply that is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture.
Dept of Ag to Cut nearly $3 Billion Next Year
According to the OMB report the Department of Agriculture would be required to cut a total $2.996 billion in the remaining eight months of FY 2013 (January to September 2013). This includes $86 million from the Food Safety Inspection Service that is responsible for the safety of the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products. Read more
Like a Charles Dickens novel U.S. agriculture is currently experiencing a period of the best of times, and the worst of times. The U.S. agriculture industry is in one of its best periods in history. There are multiple components that generate such success and they include: adaptation to technology, meeting the demands of ever-changing and improving global diets, and the productivity and resourcefulness of U.S. producers. Read more
On Wednesday of this week the U.S. House is scheduled to take up H.J. Resolution 79, making continuing appropriations for seven weeks into the new (FY 2012) fiscal year. H.J. Res 79 funds most federal programs through November 18 at the FY 2011 level, minus a 1.4 percent reduction. This level of appropriations was established in the recently enacted debt limitation law (P.L. 112-25) establishing a $1.043 trillion spending cap.
The U.S. Senate must quickly take up the bill as Congress is scheduled to recess the last week of September. With the new federal fiscal year beginning in 11 days (on Oct 1), none of the 12 appropriations bills have been enacted by Congress.
According to the 112th congressional calendar, 26 legislative days remain until the targeted adjournment on December 8. With only a few legislative days remaining already the House and Senate are headed for heated arguments in the usually congenial agriculture appropriations subcommittee over the new food safety law enacted at the beginning of this year.
Earlier this month the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee adopted their version of an FY 2012 spending bill for the US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. The U.S. House adopted their version of the bill on June 16 by a vote of 217-203. The provisions showcase a difference of opinion in implementing the new food safety law.
Specifically, the FY 2012 FDA budget request was $4.36 billion for all programs, of which just over $1.2 billion was allocated for food safety and animal drugs and feed. FDA requested an additional $324 million for the food safety initiative. Previously, the Congressional Budget Office estimated an additional $1.4 billion would be needed over the next five years to implement the Food Safety Modernization law (FSMA).
While incoming Chairman of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, Oklahoma’s Frank Lucas, agreed with Vilsack’s tenor on producers being able to choose their individual cropping system, Lucas stated that the Plant Protection Act, which grants USDA authority to regulate biotech crops, is a pure science statute and that decisions should remain based on sound science. Moreover, Lucas pressed USDA on their recent consideration of the possible coexistence of herbicide-tolerant biotech alfalfa co-existing with non-biotech fields is “a political objective and is outside the scope of (USDA’s) legal authority.” Read more
The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture held its first hearing of the new 112th Congress on Thursday and continued its tradition of tackling difficult issues by addressing the complex issues plaguing biotechnology and USDA-APHIS’ role in regulating it.
Biotechnology in agriculture has been rapidly adopted by farmers throughout the world as the industry addresses how to feed a growing world population with limited resources. In fact the 2009 report, The Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops continues to show that global adoption of agricultural biotechnology continues to increase with a record 14 million farmers in 25 countries around the world planting biotech crops on 330 million acres last year, up from 13.3 million farmers and 308 million acres in 2008. The U.S. accounted for 158 million acres of the total, or 48% of the world’s biotech crop plantings. Read more