October, 2013

    November 1, 2013


    House and Senate Begin Farm Bill Conference

    The House and Senate have begun formal conference proceedings to resolve the differences between their respective versions of the farm bill. This process was delayed by the House’s approach to pass separate farm and nutrition program bills. These separate bills were reunited through a House vote on September 28th and sent over to the Senate. The Senate responded by requesting a conference and both chambers have since named the following conferees for the Farm Bill:


    Debbie Stabenow (MI)
    Thad Cochran (MS)
    Patrick Leahy (VT)
    Pat Roberts (KS)
    Tom Harkin (IA)
    Saxby Chambliss (GA)
    Max Baucus (MT)
    John Boozman (AR)
    Sherrod Brown (OH)
    John Hoeven (ND)
    Amy Klobuchar (MN)
    Michael Bennet (CO)


    Frank Lucas (OK)
    Collin Peterson (MN)
    Steve King (IA)
    Mike McIntyre (NC)
    Randy Neugebauer (TX)
    Jim Costa (CA)
    Mike Rogers (AL)
    Tim Walz (MN)
    Mike Conaway (TX)
    Kurt Schrader (OR)
    Glenn Thompson (PA)
    Jim McGovern (MA)
    Austin Scott (GA)
    Suzan Delbene (WA)
    Rick Crawford (AR)
    Gloria Negrete McLeod (CA)
    Martha Roby (AL)
    Filemon Vela (TX)
    Kristi Noem (SD)
    Jeff Denham (CA)
    Rodney Davis (IL)
    Steve Southerland (FL) (Leadership Rep.)
    Marcia Fudge (OH) (Leadership)
    Ed Royce (CA) (Foreign Affairs Committee)
    Eliot Engel (NY) (Foreign Affairs)
    Tom Marino (PA) (Foreign Affairs Committee)
    Dave Camp (MI) (Ways & Means Committee)
    Sander Levin (MI) (Ways & Means)
    Sam Johnson (Ways & Means Committee)

    These Conferees sat down for the first time publically on Wednesday, October 30 to give opening statements and start to iron out the differences in the bills. Nutrition policy will be one of the most controversial topics in conference (the House bill saves almost $40 billion, while the Senate saves about $4 billion). In addition, several controversial crop insurance issues will also be addressed. The Senate version of the Farm Bill includes provisions that would tie conservation compliance to crop insurance and reduce premium subsidies by 15 percentage points for producers with adjusted gross incomes over $750,000. Neither of these provisions is included in the House version of the bill. However, on October 12th, the House passed a resolution instructing conferees to adopt the Senate’s provision regarding means testing for crop insurance. The House of Representatives will be out of session for the next week and it is anticipated that following the initial conference meeting, staff will begin negotiations in earnest with the goal of finishing the bill as quickly as possible.

    FSIS Releases Animal Handling Guide

    The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has published a Compliance Guide for a Systematic Approach to the Humane Handling of Livestock to assist establishments in complying with humane handling requirements. This guide represents the Agency’s current thinking on a systematic approach to humane handling of livestock and includes a sample humane handling plan and an assessment tool. FSIS encourages slaughter establishments to use the guide. A copy of the guide can be found by clicking here. FSIS is accepting public comment on the guide until December 30, 2013. Comments can be filed by following the directions found in the Federal Register notice.

    FDA Releases Proposed Rule on Feed Safety

    On October 29th, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its proposed rule on Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) and preventive controls for food for animals. The proposed rule comes as a part of FDA’s ongoing efforts to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The rule focuses on preventing problems in order to improve the safety of animal food products. The preventive controls provisions would apply to domestic and imported animal food, including pet food, animal feed, and raw materials and ingredients. Facilities producing animal food would be required to have written plans that identify hazards, specify the steps that will be put in place to minimize or prevent those hazards, identify monitoring procedures and record monitoring results, and specify what actions would be taken to correct problems that arise. The proposed rule would also establish certain Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) that specifically address animal food. A copy of the proposed rule can be found here. FDA has also developed a fact sheet and questions and answers document providing additional details about the proposed rule. FDA is accepting public comments on the proposed rule until February 26, 2014.

    ASAS Holds Congressional Briefing on Food Security

    On Monday, October 28th, the American Society of Animal Science held a Congressional Briefing on the contribution of animal production to global food security. The briefing was well attended with over sixty Congressional and Committee office staffers in attendance. After an introduction by FASS Washington Representative Walt Smith, the program was turned over to speakers including Rod Hill with the University of Idaho, Clint Krehbiel with Oklahoma State University, and Dr. Frank Mitloehner with UC-Davis. Topics specifically covered Included New Technologies Vs Global Food Security and Cattle Biotechnologies reducing Environmental Impacts. This is the second in the ASAS Snack and Fact Speaking Series to be presented on Capitol Hill and it is anticipated that the next in the series will occur after the first of the year.