USDA

Good News for SNAP Retailers: FNS Increases SNAP Benefits for Fiscal Year 2022

The beginning of the new federal fiscal year on October 1 brought welcome news to 45 million SNAP beneficiaries across the country and to more than 250,000 grocery stores, convenience stores, and other retailers authorized to redeem SNAP benefits.  On October 1, 2021, average SNAP benefits increased by $35.24 per person, per month.  USDA’s Food …

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Commentary: Another court rules against large-scale livestock farms

The United States is home to 21,000 large-scale livestock farms or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. According to an appeals court opinion handed down Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco once again ruled for the environmentalists against these farms. The case is no. 20-71554 and was brought by Food …

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OFW Law to co-host the 2021 Food Labeling Summit with the Food Institute next month

Next month, The Food Institute kicks off its 3-day virtual training seminar on Food Labeling and Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC will be co-hosting the event. Each day has its own unique theme. On day one, attendees may expect to first learn the basics of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) and the U.S. …

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USDA-FSIS Announces Updated Guidance for Controlling Pathogens in Beef and Poultry Operations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has recently updated several of its guidance documents addressing the control of pathogens in beef and poultry operations. These guidelines provide best practices for establishments on managing pathogens during pre-harvest, slaughter, chilling, storage, and processing. FSIS’ guidance is focused on assisting small and very …

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John Block Reports: Executive Orders

By Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, John R. Block. Last week President Biden signed a broad Executive Order designed to ensure that we have more competitive markets. We have too many huge corporations. They keep buying up their competitors and just get bigger. Smaller companies compete at a disadvantage. Biden says, “Capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism. …

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FTC to Issue Final Rule to Combat “Made in USA” Fraud

On July 1st, the Federal Trade Commission voted 3-2 to publish the final Made in USA Labeling Rule in the Federal Register.  The rule is consistent with – and essentially codifies – its prior 1997 Enforcement Policy Statement on U.S. Origin Claims, and provides the agency with enforcement tools to combat fraudulent claims.   The rule …

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USDA to Provide Overtime Fee Relief to Small and Very-Small Establishments

One of the major complaints of smaller meat and poultry establishments is the cost of USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) overtime and holiday inspection services. Meat and poultry establishments that are subject to mandatory inspection receive FSIS inspection services free of charge for each 8-hour shift the plant normally operates. Many plants only …

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Bob Dole and George McGovern: A Nutrition Legacy that Continues

For many years in the Senate, Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) teamed up with Senator George McGovern (D-SD) to create a legacy of bipartisan leadership on nutrition.  Working together in the 1970s, they completely reformed the Food Stamp Program (now SNAP); established the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations; with Senator Humphrey, created the Women’s Infants …

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Opinion: The Code Breaker, CRISPR, and the UN Summit

This piece was originally published by Agri-Pulse Communications.   As preparations for the United Nations Food System Summit (FSS) get underway in the US and around the world, the respected author Walter Isaacson has released a new book entitled The Code Breaker. Isaacson, well known as a talented historian and biographer, has written eloquently of Albert Einstein, Benjamin …

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chicken breasts being cut

CSPI petitions FSIS to implement enforceable Salmonella controls, supply chain requirements

John Dillard, a principal attorney in the USDA – FSIS Practice Group, authored the following article on a recent citizen’s petition to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The article appears in The National Provisioner’s March issue. On Jan. 25, 2021, a coalition of food safety activist groups and individuals led by Center …

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The UN FOOD SYSTEM SUMMIT: Upside and Downside for US Agriculture

The UN Food System Summit (FSS), to be hosted by Secretary-General António Guterres as a part of the UN General Assembly this September, is generating increased attention for several reasons:   It’s fast approaching. Hunger is on the rise. The new Biden/Harris Administration is committed to international engagement and hunger reduction. US agriculture has much …

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three cows standing in a line

Packers and Stockyards Act: Cattle Sellers Gain New Protections with the Statutory Dealer Trust

John Dillard, a principal attorney in the USDA – Packers and Stockyards group, authored the following article on recent amendments to the Packers and Stockyards Act establishing a Statutory Dealer Trust. The article appears in Farm Journal’s mid-February issue.   Cattle dealers play an integral role of the movement of livestock by buying cattle, creating …

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Oh, SNAP! FNS Refuses to Comply with the 2018 Farm Bill

Nearly all – more than 98% – of the firms authorized by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are traditional brick and mortar supermarkets, groceries, and convenience stores.   Accordingly to FNS’s SNAP Retailer Manager Year End Summary, under 1% of SNAP-authorized firms are entities that serve …

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How Does Buying American Benefit U.S. Food, Agriculture, and Medical Products?

President Biden recently issued an Executive Order (EO) to harness the federal government’s purchasing power to bolster domestic manufacturing. The “Strengthening Buy American Provisions, Ensuring Future of America is Made in America by All of America’s Workers” intends to support American industry and American workers. Overall, this EO looks to close loopholes in existing “Buy American” policies …

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Food drive called "Stamp Out Hunger"

Oh, SNAP! SNAP Retailers Need to Watch Out for New FNS Entrapment Techniques

For decades, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has attempted to combat fraud by retailers and beneficiaries in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) with varying success.  Fraud levels were dramatically reduced after FNS rolled out the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system and discontinued the use of paper food stamps more than fifteen years ago.  …

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The Debate?

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block. How exciting – With the Presidential race headed for the finish line, we got to hear President Trump and Vice President Biden debate the issues.  What a waste of my time.  All they did was talk over each other with interruptions and insults.  Biden said Trump has been the …

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On the Farm

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block. I have escaped the wild and crazy political wars of Washington, DC.  I am on my farm in Illinois.  My first time back since the virus hit.  My voice will sound a little different since I am on the phone.  I am so excited to look at our fields …

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Constitution Day and More

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block. Did you know that September 17 this week was Constitution Day?  Our country has the longest continuous running Constitution in the world – 230 years.  We have endured a Civil War, a Great Depression and two World Wars and now a deadly pandemic.  In 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King …

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Government Gridlock & More

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block. We have not heard much about the threat of African Swine Fever.  Even China seems to be recovering from that devastating disease.  But now the swine industry in Germany is worried.  Poland has been suffering swine fever losses and they are right up against Germany.  Germany is one of …

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Taiwan and More

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block. Taiwan – Let us keep in mind that China claims the island of Taiwan as part of China.  But the citizens of Taiwan do not see it that way.  Eleven men and women between the ages of 16 and 33 bought a speed boat and departed Hong Kong headed …

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Corn

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block. I want to open today by talking about corn.  There are a lot of crops planted in the Midwest, but none as important to the economy as corn.  When I grew up we fed the corn that we produced to our pigs, cows, and chickens.  Our yield per acre …

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This and That

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block. There are a lot of balls in the air.  I will try to deal with a few select ones today.  I’ll start with aluminum tariffs – President Trump re-imposed a 10% “national security” tariff on imports of aluminum from Canada.  Was that justified?  I have my doubts.  We just …

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More Spending – More Aid

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block. It was so easy and so fast in the Spring — when Republicans and Democrats came together and authorized big spending to support our people and the economy.  We didn’t have the money.  They spent $3 trillion anyway.  The pandemic still rages, and Congress is in the process of …

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Weather & Trade

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block. All reports from the heartland tell us that this year’s crops look good.  Corn and soybeans on my farm are as good as I can remember.  However, they are not ready to harvest.  A hot dry August could do some serious damage.  Besides watching the weather, we keep an …

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Virus Relief Package

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block. We have 2 parties – Republicans and Democrats in our Congress.  And then we have President Trump.  They all want to pass a new relief package to help us through our coronavirus recession.  Democrats want to spend $3 trillion while Republicans are talking about $1 trillion.  That is a …

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Pandemics Costs Money

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block. We are trying to survive a global pandemic, trade disruptions, and trade conflicts.  Farm bankruptcies have been increasing for 5 years in a row.  And they are expected to continue to climb in the next 12 months.  Thank you to the federal government – farm support payments have jumped …

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Pandemic Costs

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block. In recent weeks, the news has focused on the number of cases of Coronavirus and related deaths.  We are aware of the large amount of money and support that our federal government has made available, but I’m not sure we have focused enough on the resulting family disruption and …

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Issues of the Day

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block. For more than 2 years the U.S., Canada and Mexico have been negotiating a new North American Free Trade Agreement.  Finally, USMCA became effective this week.  Even with the new trade deal, President Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on Canadian aluminum.  I don’t think we need to do …

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China and More

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block. I have, on more than one occasion, talked about President Trump and EPA in their effort to restrain President Obama’s Waters of the U.S. rule.  That rule was written to restrict farmers and ranchers from tiling wetlands and managing our private property.  Last Friday, we got a court ruling …

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Issues

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block. I will cover some issues of the day that may not have gotten much attention.  The U.S. and Russia have a long-range nuclear arms agreement that will expire next February. The agreement was negotiated and went into effect 30 years ago.  It is time to renegotiate, and China will …

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Issues of the Day

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block. President Trump held a meeting with farm leaders on Tuesday at the White House.  Secretary Sonny Perdue explained how the $16 billion aid package passed by Congress and signed by the President two months ago would be divided up.  This bill is the centerpiece of President Trump’s effort to …

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Mother on My Mind

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block. Being in lock down like most of our citizens and trying to celebrate Mother’s Day made me think.  My mother was so dedicated to my 2 sisters, me and of course my dad.  Mom & Dad were married in 1934 and in 1935 I was born.  We were living …

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OFW’s John G. Dillard and Mason Weeda to Present the Food Institute’s COVID:19 Webinar on May 12

On May 12, OFW Principals, John G. Dillard and Mason Weeda will be presenting a webinar in collaboration with The Food Institute on the U.S. regulatory response in connection to the novel coronavirus crisis. The focus will be on the policies and practices implemented by USDA, FDA, OSHA, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of …

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