Home 5 Ag Stories 4 Ag Stories You Need to Read Today, June 17

4 Ag Stories You Need to Read Today, June 17

Vilsack Meets with Ag Officials in Europe

BRUSSELS – This week, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is in Europe, and has already met with European Union ag ministers and other ag officials about the importance of geographical indications in the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations, according to The Hagstrom Report.

The EU wants the U.S. to agree to give formal recognition to geographical indications, which would restrict the use of a name of a product to the place it originated in the T-TIP talks, but the U.S. dairy industry maintains U.S. producers have been making cheeses with generic names for generations. Parmesan is just one example of a GI.

Vilsack says there will have to be a serious negotiation about this issue, and that an agreement between Canada and the EU to accept some GIs will make it more difficult. Vilsack says there should be a way to capture value without limiting market access. At the end of the day, he says both U.S. and European producers could benefit from the agreement.

Update on Ag Appropriations Bill Status

WASHINGTON – Current House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has announced the House will take up the Fiscal Year 2015 Defense Appropriations bill and a bill reauthorizing the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Wednesday, but there’s still no word on when floor action will begin again on the ag appropriations bill.

House Republicans will hold an election Thursday for a new majority leader, and the Hagstrom Report says it’s expected House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy will win, which would call for an election for a new majority whip.

The Senate will begin considering the ag appropriations bill Tuesday, along with the Fiscal Year 2015 Commerce Justice State bill and the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill. A Senate aide told The Hagstrom Report consideration is expected to take at least a week.

Representative Calls for Briefing with FSIS on Recalled Beef

WASHINGTON – At the end of last week, Connecticut Representative Rosa DeLauro requested a briefing with Acting Under Secretary for Food Safety Brian Ronholm on the recalled beef out of Fruitland American Meat potentially contaminated with bovein spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service says none of the animals displayed signs of BSE before slaughter. DeLauro questions why it took so long for the error to be discovered, as the recalled product was produced between September of 2013 and April of this year. DeLauro says she simply wants to learn more.

Chinese Delegates Tour U.S. Beef System to Potentially Reopen Market Access

TOKYO – A delegation from China’s food safety agency is coming to the U.S. to review American beef production, according to Meatingplace.

U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Phil Seng says USMEF hopes this is the time something positive will happen and China will remove its ban of imports of U.S. beef, which were established in December 2003 after the first U.S. case of BSE.

The Chinese delegation will have to develop a report on its findings after its two-week U.S. tour, but Seng believes the reopening will happen in the near future. Every country has a different rulemaking process, Seng says, but it’s expected that China would begin with a staggered protocol to allow imports of bone-in and boneless beef from U.S. cattle age 30 months or younger.

The above stories are provided courtesy of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters New Service, powered by the American Farm Bureau Federation.