Tag Archives: USDA

(Washington, D.C, February 25, 2020) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the appointment of Paul Kiecker to serve as Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). Mr. Kiecker will be assuming the role following the departure of Administrator Carmen Rottenberg, who is departing federal service after a career spanning two decades.

 

“Ensuring the safety of America’s food supply is USDA’s most important responsibility, and one that Carmen carried out with dedication and vision. I know she will continue her passion for food safety in the private sector,” said Secretary Perdue. “Carmen is a true public servant and ushered in an era of modernization at the Food Safety and Inspection Service. This mission and drive will continue and advance with Paul Kiecker in his new leadership role. USDA’s food safety team is the best in the world and works tirelessly to safeguard the food we serve our families every single day.”

 

Carmen Rottenberg served as Administrator since May of 2018 but led the agency since August of 2017. As Administrator, Rottenberg spearheaded efforts to modernize the agency and implemented several key initiatives to target foodborne illness. Through her leadership and oversight, an unprecedented level of collaboration was achieved with federal, state and municipal agencies and other stakeholders.

 

“My colleagues in FSIS are among the best and brightest in federal government, and I am confident that the Agency will continue to “do right and feed everyone,” long after my last day in this office,” Carmen Rottenberg said. “Each and every day our FSIS team displays unparalleled commitment to decision making that is both protective of public health and supportable by science and data. They are public servants in the truest form of the term. It’s been a thrill and absolute joy to work with Secretary Perdue and this USDA team, and I’m so proud of all we have accomplished.”

 

“I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work so closely with Carmen over the past year,” said Deputy Under Secretary Mindy Brashears. “Her leadership and food safety expertise will be greatly missed within the Department, but I am excited to see her succeed in her new ventures ahead. As we move ahead into 2020, I am confident in the direction of the agency as we have experienced senior staff who are ready to step into new leadership roles.”

 

Background:

Paul Kiecker was named Deputy Administrator for the FSIS in May of 2018 and served as the Agency’s Acting Administrator until January of 2019. Throughout his 30 years with FSIS, he has been committed to a strong public health vision that has guided him to overcome obstacles, identify opportunities for improvement, manage resources efficiently, and achieve food safety objectives to prevent foodborne illness.

 

Since joining FSIS in 1988 as a food inspector, Kiecker has served in a number of roles at the agency, including Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Field Operations. He came to Washington, D.C. to serve as Executive Associate for Regulatory Operations, after serving as the District Manager in Springdale, AR and Madison, WI, as well as Deputy District Manager in Madison, WI. Kiecker’s experience with FSIS also includes work with the Office of Investigation, Enforcement, and Audit, where he has served as a Compliance Investigator and as Supervisory Compliance Officer.

 

On July 25, 2019, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced details of additional actions the U.S. Department of Agriculture would take to support American agricultural producers while continued efforts on free, fair and reciprocal trade deals take place. As part of those actions, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service announced up to $17 million of food purchases in American lamb under the authority of Section 5 of the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act for distribution to various food nutrition assistance programs.

 

A pre-solicitation notice issued Feb. 18 announced a near-term opportunity for a solicitation of lamb products to be procured as to include, but not limited to, lamb shanks. A delivery period is suggested as May through September.

 

Solicitations will be issued soon and will be available electronically through the Web-Based Supply Chain Management system. Public WBSCM information is available without an account on the WBSCM Public Procurement Page. All future information regarding this acquisition, including solicitation amendments and award notices, will be published through WBSCM, and on the Agricultural Marketing Service’s website at www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food. Interested parties shall be responsible for ensuring that they have the most up-to-date information about this acquisition. The contract type is anticipated to be firm-fixed price. Deliveries are expected to be to various locations in the United States on an FOB destination basis.

 

Pursuant to Agricultural Acquisition Regulation 470.103(b), commodities and the products of agricultural commodities acquired under this contract must be a product of the United States, and shall be considered to be such a product if it is grown, processed and otherwise prepared for sale or distribution exclusively in the United States. Packaging and container components under this acquisition will be the only portion subject to the World Trade Organization Government Procurement Agreement and Free Trade Agreements, as addressed by FAR clause 52.225-5.

 

To be eligible to submit offers, potential contractors must meet the AMS vendor qualification requirements. The AMS point of contact for new vendors may be reached via email at NewVendor@usda.gov. Details of these requirements are available online at: https://www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food/becoming-approved.

 

Source: USDA/AMS

 

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) encourages agricultural producers to enroll now in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs. March 16, 2020, is the enrollment deadline for the 2019 crop year.

Although more than 200,000 producers across the nation have enrolled to date, FSA anticipates 1.5 million producers will enroll for ARC and PLC. By enrolling soon, producers can beat the rush as the deadline nears. Producers who complete the ARC and PLC election and enrollment process now, ahead of the deadline, still will have until March 16 to make changes, if necessary.

ARC and PLC provide financial protections to farmers from substantial drops in crop prices or revenues and are vital economic safety nets for most American farms.

The programs cover the following commodities: barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, grain sorghum, oats, dry peas, rapeseed, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat, among others. 

Producers are reminded that if they do not complete the ARC/PLC election process by the deadline, they will be ineligible to receive a payment for the 2019 crop year.

More Information

To assist with the decision-making process, informational resources are available at www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc. Producers also can access www.fsa.usda.gov/ne where information under the “Spotlights” section includes a webinar that provides ARC and PLC information shared at recent public meetings held across Nebraska.

To enroll, contact your FSA county office for an appointment.

LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska growers, dealers, and processors held 4.0 million cwt of potatoes in storage on February 1, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Current stocks represent 42 percent of the 2019 production.

Total stocks are defined as all potatoes on hand, regardless of use, including those that will be lost through future shrinkage and dumping.

Comparing stocks by type, Russets accounted for 38 percent of the total, down from 40 percent in 2019. Round whites were 59 percent of the total, up from 58 percent in 2019.

Access the National publication for this release at:
https://usda.library.cornell.edu/concern/publications/47429915b

Find agricultural statistics for your county, State, and the Nation at www.nass.usda.gov

Washington D.C., February 14, 2020) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued a proclamation naming February 16-22 as Grain Bin Safety Week. Earlier this week, the Secretary sat down with the Governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem, to talk about the importance of grain bin safety on the farm. Governor Noem grew up on a farm in Hamlin County, South Dakota and has a personal connection to farm safety. She has been an advocate for increased grain bin safety efforts for years.
You may click HERE or on the image above to watch their conversation.
“We hope grain operators, farmers and community leaders will join us in expanding knowledge of safe practices not just during National Grain Bin Safety Week, but year-round,” said Secretary Perdue. “Tragedies like the one Governor Noem’s family experienced happen too frequently and call for greater action, which is why I have signed a proclamation naming February 16-22 Grain Bin Safety Week.”
“I’m grateful for Secretary Perdue’s leadership in highlighting this important issue,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “My life changed forever when we lost my dad in a grain bin accident, and while farmers are often in a hurry to get things done, nothing is worth losing a life. This Grain Bin Safety Week, I want to encourage producers to evaluate safety procedures on their farms and ranches. Slow down and be safe – your family will thank you for it.”

USDA on Tuesday boosted exports for soybeans 50 million bushels (mb) but lowered corn exports 50 mb, despite high sales expectations because of recent trade deals.

USDA increased its forecast for soybean exports by 50 mb to 1.825 billion bushels (bb). Ending stocks, at 425 mb, declined from last month by a corresponding amount and fell within the range of pre-report expectations.

Corn exports were projected at 1.725 bb, down 50 mb from January.

USDA did bump up wheat exports up 25 mb from the January report, to 1 bb

USDA released its February World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates on Tuesday as well as its monthly Crop Production report. Traders were closely watching just how USDA might integrate projected exports to China for a few key commodities following the announcement last month of the phase-one trade deal with China that is meant, in part, to boost U.S. agricultural sales to China.

According to DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman, Tuesday’s U.S. ending stocks estimates were neutral for corn and slightly bullish for soybeans and wheat; world ending stocks estimates were neutral for corn and wheat, but somewhat bearish for soybeans.

You can access the full reports here:

— Crop Production: https://www.nass.usda.gov/…

— World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE): http://www.usda.gov/…

CORN

The monthly corn production estimate for the 2019-20 crop was projected at 13.69 bb, the same as January, with a national average yield of 168 bushels per acre, also unchanged.

Exports were lowered 50 mb to 1.725 bb with USDA citing “the slow pace of shipments through January.” USDA increased domestic ethanol use by 50 mb as well, increasing use to 5.425 bb for ethanol for the 2019-20 crop.

Total corn use was projected at 14.07 bb, the same as January, and ending stocks were projected at 1.892 bb, also the same as January. That brings the stocks-to-use ration for the 2019-20 crop at 13.4%.

The average farm-gate price for the 2019-20 crop was pegged at $3.85 a bushel, also unchanged for January.

Globally, USDA slightly lowered global production by a fractional number, but increased global domestic demand by 1.81 million metric tons (mmt). Global ending stocks, less China, were dropped by 970,000 metric tons.

The corn stocks-to-use ratio for the 2019-20 crop year was 13.4%, unchanged from last month.

SOYBEANS

USDA forecast 2019-20 domestic ending stocks at 425 mb, a 50 mb decline from last month based on forecasts for corresponding increase in exports. The agency left production and other demand forecasts unchanged.

The national average farm gate price was lowered by a quarter to $8.75 per bushel.

Globally, USDA revised ending stocks upwards to 98.86 mmt a 2.19 mmt increase. Brazilian production forecasts climbed by 2 mmt to 125 mmt while Argentine production was left unchanged at 53 mmt.

Domestic soybean stocks-to-use for 2019-20 declined to 10.5% from last month’s 11.8% estimate.

WHEAT

Domestic 2019-20 wheat ending stocks were trimmed by 25 mb to 940 mb, a five-year low that came within analysts’ pre-report expectations. That change was driven entirely by an increase of 25 mb in wheat exports, from 975 mb in January to 1 bb in the February report. The agency cited “growing competitiveness in international markets” for that adjustment.

The average farmgate price for wheat was pegged at $4.55 per bushel, unchanged from the January report.

USDA tweaked global ending stocks to 288.03 mmt, just under last month’s estimate of 288.08 mmt and within analysts’ pre-report estimates.

Australian wheat production was left unchanged from the January estimate of 15.6 mmt, despite widespread fires and drought in the country. USDA also left Russian wheat exports at 34 mmt, despite reports that the Russian government would soon restrict exports.

Wheat stocks-to-use declined by 1.7 percentage points to 43.4%.

WORLD PRODUCTION (million metric tons) 2019-20
Feb Avg High Low Jan
CORN
Argentina 50.0 49.8 51.0 48.0 50.0
Brazil 101.0 100.8 101.0 99.0 101.0
SOYBEANS
Argentina 53.0 53.1 54.0 52.5 53.0
Brazil 125.0 123.8 125.0 122.5 123.0
U.S. ENDING STOCKS (Million Bushels) 2019-20
Feb Avg High Low Jan 2018-19
Corn 1,892 1,856 2,017 1,667 1,892 2,221
Soybeans 424 448 586 320 475 909
Wheat 940 953 999 900 965 1,080
WORLD ENDING STOCKS (million metric tons) 2019-20
Feb Avg High Low Jan 2018-19
Corn 296.8 297.5 299.5 295.0 297.8 320.4
Soybeans 98.9 97.2 102.9 94.2 96.7 110.3
Wheat 288.0 287.2 288.8 280.0 288.1 278.1

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service recently announced the agricultural organizations that are recipients of the Fiscal Year 2020 funding for the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development program. The American Sheep Industry Association has once again been granted funding through each of these programs.

 

Additionally, ASI cooperates with the Quality Samples Program, which has been key in assisting new customers to try American wool.

 

“This is extremely important funding for the American wool industry as it continues to explore and grow export markets. The programs are key to building the current customer base and effective when investigating in markets that are either high-risk or developing,” said Rita Samuelson, ASI’s deputy director.

 

The MAP program shares the cost of overseas marketing and promotional activities that help build commercial export markets for agricultural products and commodities. ASI uses this funding for projects such as branding programs, promotion, trade missions, reverse-trade missions, first-stage processing trials and trade show participation.

 

The FMD program focuses on trade servicing and trade capacity building by helping to create, expand and maintain long-term export markets for American products. This supports other FAS programs, such as QSP which enables the wool industry to provide samples of American wool. These samples help a foreign customer learn about and try American wool and have been important in developing long-term customers who have purchased millions of pounds of American wool.

 

These programs are open to all. ASI does not discriminate based on race, religion, national origin, age, sex (including gender identity and expression), sexual orientation, disability, marital or familial status, political beliefs, parental status, receipt of public assistance, or protected genetic information.

 

The National Biodiesel Board released comments in response to the USDA’s request for information on the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program.

The NBB stated it’s grateful that biodiesel is included in the program. The infrastructure needs for biodiesel, renewable diesel, Bioheat, and sustainable aviation fuel are different from those of other biofuels. The group also asked USDA to focus the program on investments in strategic terminals, pipeline storage, and rail expansion to create a broader downstream capacity to sell more gallons.

“Investments would be best served on opportunities that would afford the greatest additional volumes of biodiesel to enter the marketplace,” the group said in its comments. “The greatest barriers to biodiesel distribution are at the terminal and pipeline terminal level, as well as railways to reach distribution centers.”

Kurt Kovarik, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs, said they’re grateful to the USDA for following through on a pledge to support infrastructure projects that facilitate higher biofuel blends.

“American consumers are increasingly demanding access to clean, low-carbon, advanced biofuels, like biodiesel,” he said. “We look forward to working with the USDA to strengthen the market for higher blends of biodiesel.”