Government Relations

NIAA: What to Expect for Animal Agriculture in a Biden Administration

The National Institute of Animal Agriculture invited Chelsea Good, Vice President of Government & Industry Affairs at Livestock Marketing Association and John Dillard, Principal Attorney in the USDA Practice Group at OFW Law to provide insight on the incoming Biden Administration and what it will mean for the animal agriculture industry. From the Barn to …

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USDA Jamie L Whitten Building

Acting Officers at the USDA

After Congress certified the 2020 election, the Trump administration asked all of its political appointees to submit resignation letters by Inauguration Day. That same day, Agriculture Secretary Perdue issued a memo designating the following individuals as acting officers in their respective positions:   Jason Hafemeister, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs …

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US Capitol Building in Washington DC

Who Might Chair Senate Committees With A Democratic Majority

It appears that Reverend Warnock (D) has unseated Senator Loeffler (R) in Georgia and John Ossoff (D) is currently leading Senator Perdue (R). While we await the final results in Georgia, we thought it would be of interest to look at who is likely to chair the various Senate Committees should Democrats take the Senate majority.   …

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Regulatory Roundup: USDA Secretary, Vaccines for Meat and Poultry Line Workers, and NPIS’s Line Speed Proposal

There have been several recent events of note that will impact meat and poultry producers and processors. The recent election of President-elect Biden means there will be new leadership at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). President-elect Biden will also have the opportunity to appoint new leadership for the USDA Office of Food Safety. In …

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HHS’s Last Ditch Policy Moves – What is the End Game?

Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a proposed rule that would require sunset dates for its regulations, including regulations under its agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The proposed rule, “Securing Updated and Necessary Statutory Evaluations Timely,” flew …

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Transition Update: “Ascertainment”

It’s official!!   At this writing, GSA Administrator Emily Murphy has now notified President-Elect Biden that she is making available to him the resources available under the Presidential Transition Act of 1963, including funding, office space, access to agency officials, and so on, so that the transition to a new administration can proceed in earnest.  In …

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Transition Update: Moving Forward

At this writing, the administrator of the General Services Administration still has not issued the “ascertainment” finding needed to trigger the resources available to incoming President-Elect Joe Biden and his team under the Presidential Transition Act of 1963.  As a result, formal Transition activities – initial contacts between Biden-Harris agency review teams and career staff, …

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Transition Update: Biden announces agency Review Teams

As anticipated in our most recent Transition “Next Steps” post from Monday, the Biden-Harris Transition team on Tuesday this week announced its Agency Review teams.  These are the groups assigned to interact with each Federal agency, take inventory of pending issues, such personnel and agency management, budget, and policy, and report back an assessment that …

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A Midnight Attack on Federal Employees?

Late last week, in the final days of a presidential election, President Donald Trump issued an innocuous-sounding Executive Order (EO) that immediately raised eyebrows.   While described as a step to increase accountability for top policymakers, many experts see it as a threat to long standing Civil Service principles. The EO, unless overturned, could put at …

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2020 Dietary Guidelines Near the End of Stage One

On Wednesday, June 16, 2020, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) hosted a public meeting to review their draft scientific report. A new edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is published every 5-years and developed in three stages: (I) Reviewing the science; (II) developing the guidelines; (III) implementation. The most recent meeting marks the …

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2020 Food Labeling Seminar Hosted by OFW and The Food Institute

OFW and The Food Institute will be holding their annual Food Labeling Seminar on October 7, 8, and 9. The virtual training course will cover everything you need to know about food labeling in today’s marketplace. This seminar will review the basics of FDA’s and USDA’s food labeling requirements, including recent updates. It will review …

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Policy Solutions to Climate Change through Agriculture and Forestry

The coronavirus has dominated the news cycle over the last five months and has disrupted nearly every industry, particularly agriculture and forestry. Leaders, innovators, and policymakers in these fields are looking for solutions that will mitigate future supply chain disruptions like the ones experienced due to the coronavirus. Therefore, it is not surprising that climate …

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ITC To Investigate the Impact of Blueberry Imports on US Domestic Producers

At the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has initiated an investigation to determine whether increased imports of fresh, chilled, or frozen blueberries are causing or threatening to cause serious injury to domestic blueberry producers.  If the ITC determines that they are, the President is authorized to take action …

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The History and Value of School Lunches

The Beginning The National School Lunch Program operates in 100,000 schools and is available to approximately 50 million children. We have all grown up with lunch in school, and perhaps breakfast too. But it was not always this way. School meal programs have been developing in the United States since the 19th century. As states began …

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COVID-19 and the Need for International Food Aid – A Growing Body of Evidence

“So today, with COVID-19, I want to stress that we are not only facing a global health pandemic but also a global humanitarian catastrophe. Millions of civilians living in conflict-scarred nations, including many women and children, face being pushed to the brink of starvation, with the specter of famine a very real and dangerous possibility.” David …

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Presidential Election Republicans and Democrats

The 2020 Presidential Transition Has Already Begun, Quietly

It is almost easy to forget, in this strange, tumultuous spring of 2020, that we still have a national presidential election, perhaps one of the most important in our lifetimes, just around the corner, five months from now. As a cascade of crises dominates national attention — the covid-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, nationwide …

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Cows relaxing in the meadow

COVID-19 Webinar: Federal Regulatory Changes Impacting the Food Industry – Recording Available

On April 22, OFW Principal John Dillard presented a webinar addressing the federal regulatory changes that have been implemented to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The webinar also discussed guidance from USDA, FDA, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Center for Disease Control as well as some of the best practices that have been …

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Male hand hand holding Q&A word with wooden cube block

FDA COVID-19 Food Safety Q&A

The FDA is currently posting updates in a Q&A format on its Food Safety and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) webpage.  The Q&A provides information to food production/processing facilities and retail food establishments regarding best practices during the ongoing public health emergency.  For example, the website provides some salient advice on social distancing in food …

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Hands holding towel and disinfectant

New Policies Released by the EPA Today in Response to the COVID-19 Health Crisis

Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued two policy statements as a part of the Administration’s COVID-19 response. First, the EPA furthered its commitment to expediting the registration process for new surface disinfectant products. The EPA also announced an enforcement discretion policy under which the Agency will not seek penalties for certain civil violations related …

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Fresh produce sold at a market by farmer

Food and Agriculture in the Phase 3 Coronavirus Bill

By Julia Johnson Food and agriculture continues to be a priority for Congress and the Administration as the government tackles the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. After tense negotiations, the Senate passed a third stimulus bill late last night. Here is what is in it for food and agriculture. Before the second coronavirus stimulus …

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Young woman in medical mask in grocery store because of Covid 19

Food Security is National Security in a Time of Crisis – Phase One and Phase Two Coronavirus Stimulus Bills

By Julia Johnson The Coronavirus Pandemic has dramatically changed life as we know it in the United States. Government from the local to the federal level, the private sector, and non-profit organizations alike are practicing unprecedented levels of partnership and cooperation to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, or COVID-19. Recent bills passed by Congress and …

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A big pile of bulk blue medical masks

Defense Production Act Update – 3/23/2020

Today, the President signed an Executive Order to authorize the Sec. of HHS to designate medical equipment as “critical” or “essential” to the national response to the crisis. Under DPA § 102, the President can take action to prohibit the hording of materials designated as “scarce” or “essential.” Sec. 102 prohibits the accumulation of such …

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Testing materials for COVID 19 Corona Virus

COVID-19 Update for Diagnostic Device Manufacturers

The availability of Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) diagnostic tests is critical to an effective response to the current pandemic. FDA has taken measures to permit the distribution of such tests in advance of receiving authorization to do so from the agency in an attempt to remove bureaucratic barriers that could affect the nation’s ability to mount …

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Little boy finishes meal

Child Nutrition Reauthorization Moves Forward

Reauthorization of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 has been stalled since 2015.  Even though the Senate Agriculture Committee and the House Education and the Workforce Committee reported their respective bills, the Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016 (S. 3136) and the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016 (H.R. …

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Government shutdowns – Who dreamed up this crazy idea?

Jimmy Carter (above) and his Attorney General, Benjamin Civiletti (right), authors of the modern government shutdown. In all the drama and commotion over the government shutdown, now in its third week, with 800,000 federal employees going without paychecks and services disappearing by the day, all prompted by President Trump’s insistence on funding his proposed Mexican …

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George H.W. Bush at his inauguration in 1989

John Block Reports: Saying Goodbye to President George H.W. Bush

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block. The passing of President George H. W. Bush has brought the whole nation to focus on his life and the contributions that he made to our country.  President Reagan brought the Soviet Union down, but President Bush managed the clean-up of the Cold War.  Eastern Europe emerged from the …

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Food and Drug Administration logo

FDA Nutrition Innovation Strategy

FDA has announced a public meeting, entitled “FDA’s Comprehensive, Multi-Year Nutrition Innovation Strategy,” (Strategy) to be held on July 26, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. EDT, at the Hilton Washington DC/Rockville Hotel, 1750 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. The public meeting also will be made available via live webcast. In March 29, 2018 …

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Tomato injected with growth hormones

How the Federal Government Can Get Biotech Regulation Right

By Nina Fedoroff and Alison Van Eenennaam, as published in the Des Moines Register In his speech at the recent American Farm Bureau convention, President Trump said his administration was “streamlining regulations that have blocked cutting-edge biotechnology.” Why is this necessary?  Paraphrasing New York Times columnist Paul Krugman’s words on economic policy, it’s because we’re still living with “zombie” biotech …

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